Many American Workers Plan to Ring in the New Year With a New Career

ATLANTA – December 15, 2016 — Visions of sugarplums aren’t the only things dancing in employees’ heads this holiday season. In fact, many already are looking ahead to what 2017 will mean for their careers.

According to the latest WorkSphere survey from Spherion® Staffing, the New Year’s resolution list for 62 percent of American workers includes making a professional change, such as overall performance improvement, learning a new professional skill, finding a new job, negotiating a higher salary, embarking on a new career or starting a new business.

The Spherion survey, conducted online in November 2016 with market research data collection organization Research Now®, also found that workers who plan to start a new job or career in 2017 cite higher pay (56 percent), a desire to try something new (45 percent) and better work/life balance (44 percent) as the primary reasons. Conversely, 72 percent of the workers who do not plan to find a new job or start a new career in 2017 say they are satisfied with their current work arrangement. 

Employees are virtually split on whether the New Year will bring improved job prospects. More than one-fourth (27 percent) of workers think that 2017 will be a better year for jobs than 2016, while only slightly fewer (24 percent) disagree. And, despite recent optimism surrounding the current economic outlook, one-third of all workers (33 percent) and nearly 40 percent of millennials (workers ages 18-34) are more worried about the economy and its impact on their career than they were at this time last year. In addition, 20 percent of workers say that the 2016 presidential election results have impacted their 2017 professional plans. 

“With the New Year approaching, it’s the perfect time for employees to take a step back and determine if they are truly happy with the trajectory of their careers, and whether they would like to make any changes to improve their current professional situations,” said Sandy Mazur, Spherion Division President. “It’s equally important, however, for employers to take notice of employees’ priorities for the New Year to better meet their expectations and maximize the potential for retention and job happiness.” 

Not surprisingly, “making more money” tops the list of career-related resolutions for all workers in 2017 (28 percent). However, a salary increase isn’t the only adjustment workers will consider making in the New Year. According to the survey, 40 percent of workers are interested in relocating for professional reasons, and the same is true for 62 percent of millennials. Furthermore, 90 percent of workers who have job or career-related resolutions are interested in changing industries.

Employers should act fast if they plan to retain employees whose New Year’s resolutions could result in significant turnover, as workers give themselves high marks for their ability to follow through on their resolutions. Forty-two percent of workers give themselves an “A” or “B” grade for their ability to keep New Year’s resolutions, led by 62 percent of millennials who would give themselves the same grades. In fact, the survey found that 46 percent of millennials have made job/career-related resolutions more than once over the past five years, and 81 percent report following through.

Additionally, Spherion uncovered several other noteworthy trends around workers’ plans for the New Year:

What Women (and Men) Want in 2017

  • More women than men who say they plan to start a new job or career in 2017 indicate higher pay (59 percent and 53 percent, respectively) as a primary inspiration, while 14 percent more men than women say the desired change is simply because they want to try something new. 
  • Female workers who are considering changing industries in the New Year tend to express interest in jobs in the administrative and marketing communications industries (34 percent), while men are most open to jobs in the technology space (25 percent).

Workers are Planning their Professional Future

  • Sixty percent of workers are not concerned that their job will become obsolete within the next five years.
  • Overall, 55 percent of workers prefer to stick with one professional endeavor and are disinterested in pursuing a second job in addition to their primary job.
  • However, a notable number of millennials (29 percent) say they would be interested in taking on a side gig.

West Coast is the Best Coast, According to Workers 

  • The top four cities most desired by workers interested in relocating for their job are on the West Coast: Seattle (17 percent), San Francisco (16 percent), Los Angeles (16 percent) and Portland (15 percent). 
  • New York City (25 percent), San Francisco (27 percent) and Los Angeles (25 percent) are in a virtual three-way tie for most popular destination among millennial workers who want to relocate for professional reasons.
  • While New York City is desirable among millennials, overall, workers say they would rather relocate internationally (15 percent) than to New York (14 percent). 

About Spherion 
Spherion Staffing Services is a leading recruiting and staffing provider that specializes in placing administrative, clerical, customer service and light industrial candidates into temporary and full-time opportunities. As an industry pioneer for more than 70 years, Spherion has sourced, screened and placed millions of individuals in virtually every industry through a network of offices across the U.S. To help clients meet their workforce goals, Spherion offers companies a unique combination of personalized customer service and in-depth knowledge and expertise of the communities where Spherion offices are located. Each local office is individually owned and operated by a team of staffing specialists who are well-known and acquainted with the community and supported by a strong network of talent. To learn more, visit www.spherion.com. Also, as part of one of the fastest-growing industries, Spherion is actively expanding into new territories, with more than 75 franchise markets available. To inquire, visit www.spherion.com/franchise.

About Research Now 
Research Now Group, Inc., is the global leader in digital data collection to power analytics and insights. It enables confident, data-driven decision-making for its 3,700 market research, consulting, media, and corporate clients through access to millions of deeply-profiled business professionals and consumers. The company has provided high-quality, proprietary, research-only online panel samples since 2001, and currently operates in over 40 countries from more than 20 offices around the globe with locations in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific. Research Now is recognized as the quality, scale, and customer satisfaction leader in the market research industry. For more information, please go to www.researchnow.com