Should I stay or should I go?

Oct 31 2006 by Brian Amble Print This Article

What is it that motivates a worker to leave a job, or accept or decline a new position – and do age, gender or ethnicity have any bearing on these? A new report seeks to provide some answers.

Online recruiter Monster surveyed almost 2,000 adult Americans to find out the commonalities and key differentiators between these groups in terms of their career decisions.

"Across the survey segments, we found that salary, opportunity for work-life balance and benefits were the leading deal-makers when a seeker accepts a new job - regardless of his or her age, gender or ethnicity," said Steve Pemberton, Chief Diversity Officer, Monster.

"It is also interesting that among the commonalities we uncovered, diversity in the workforce is not something valued just by diverse populations. On the contrary, almost half of all Caucasians surveyed indicate that a prospective employer's level of diversity is very important to them."

Another notable finding is that job seekers from ethnic minorities are more likely to scrutinise a potential employer's development initiatives and opportunities for advancement and promotion.

Eight out of 10 African-Americans and three-quarters (77 per cent) of Hispanics said that the opportunity for upward mobility is important when deciding whether to accept a new job, compared to fewer than two-thirds (63 per cent) of their Caucasian counterparts.

The report, "A Changing Landscape: The Effect of Age, Gender and Ethnicity on Career Decisions," also found that women tend to place a higher value on work-life balance than men do when considering a new job.

Some four out of 10 women - compared to just a quarter of men – would turn down a new position if it had no flexibility with regard to work hours.

Work-life balance is a bigger area of contention among men
Yet men also seem to be getting a rough deal when it comes to their own work-life balance. Four out of 10 men complained that their current employer is not flexible enough compared to fewer than one in three (28 per cent) of women.

"Based on our findings, more women than men are looking for benefits like telecommuting and flexible work days during the job selection process," said Pemberton.

"But when you look at the reasons why workers leave an organisation, work-life balance is a bigger area of contention among men. The bottom line for employers is that promoting work-life balance is key in attracting and retaining people, regardless of gender."

Pemberton added that employers also need to be aware that some m78 million of the '150 million workers in the U.S. are Baby Boomers who represent the most skilled and knowledgeable workers in the labour market.

"As many people in this generation are planning to forgo fulltime retirement, savvy employers should focus on offering competitive health insurance and retirement plans - the factors we found to be more important to this demographic than to younger employees."