Jobs and the Future of Work

US workers want more pay and better perks, so more than half are considering switching jobs

People working on their laptops.

Since the pandemic, US employees want more pay and better perks recent surveys show. Image: UNSPLASH/ Annie Spratt

Lila MacLellan
Reporter, Quartz New York
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Future of Work

  • As COVID-19 restrictions start to lift in the US, a recent survey has revealed that 22% of respondents are already looking for a new job.
  • A further quarter say they are thinking about making a move to a new employer.
  • Factors that would make an employee stay include better pay and retirement plans.
  • Women tend to value wellbeing and increased pay equally, whereas men prioritize better pay.

In a survey last June, Prudential Financial found that about a quarter of US respondents planned to leave their employer once the risk of the pandemic had decreased. Well, here we are—covid restrictions in the US are lifting, offices are reopening—and sure enough, 22% of participants in Prudential’s newest survey say they are already hunting for a new role.

Another quarter of the respondents, while not actively searching, are thinking about looking for a new employer.

Combined, the percentage of workers who might be considered flight risks this year are similar to what we saw in 2021, when several global and US surveys found that up to half of workers wanted to change jobs that year.

In other words, the Great Reshuffling is not over.

How many US workers are planning to change jobs?

Infographic showing how many US people are planning to change jobs.
Nearly 22% of people had switched jobs during the pandemic. Image: Quartz at Work

What can companies do to convince people not to quit?

Nearly a quarter (22%) of respondents in the latest survey said they had already switched jobs during the pandemic. Is there anything employers can do to stem the tide?

Prudential found that 71% of Americans who say they’re looking for a new job would consider staying put for better pay. The second most common answer (28%) was a better retirement plan. But almost as popular as an improved 401(k) benefit was more flexibility over scheduling (27%).

Overall, one in five workers said they would consider accepting a pay cut to achieve better work-life balance. For these employees, a little more rest and control over their own time was worth an average of about 10% of their salaries.

Women want more than better pay, though they want that too

A separate survey from Gallup confirms the value American workers place on flexibility and balance in a job, while revealing a divergence in how men and women rank that factor.

When Gallup asked workers what they prioritize when they assess a new role, men and women were almost equally likely to say better pay. This was true for 65% of men and 63% of women. However, Gallup found that only women were likely to value wellbeing almost as much as pay, with 65% of women checking the box next to work-life balance compared to 56% of men.

“The factors that women are considering when deciding whether or not to take a job, they’re considering with more intensity,” Kristin Barry, director of hiring analytics at Gallup, told the Washington Post. “It really is a ‘both, and.’”

The jobs that men and women value.
Women are almost 10% more likely to value work-life balance than men. Image: Quartz at Work

Slightly more than half of women (52%) also said they looked for a diverse workforce when evaluating a job, making diversity the fourth most commonly desired job condition for women. For men, the fourth most sought-after feature was that the company’s covid-19 policies aligned with their personal beliefs.

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