Staying for the Challenges, But Leaving for the Money takes

In the glory days of last year’s employment market, lots of people jumped to new jobs. But far more of them stayed put. Other than mere inertia, what is it that leads an employee to keep the same job? In a poll of college-educated workers making at least $50,000 a year, Fortune Personnel Consultants found the main inducements to be “challenging work” (cited by 24 percent) and “ability to balance work and personal life” (23 percent). “Reward/compensation” ran a distant third (15 percent), ahead of “work environment/corporate culture”(10 percent). If money isn’t the main thing attaching employees to their jobs, it does top the list when they’re asked to cite “the most important factor that would tempt you to leave your company” (26 percent). Other lures include “opportunity for career advancement” (15 percent) and “ability to balance life and work” (13 percent). While “challenging work” is the factor most likely to keep people in their current jobs, just 10 percent picked it as the thing that would induce them to join a new employer. A stubborn 12 percent of respondents said nothing could tempt them to jump ship—twice the number who gave that answer in the previous year’s survey. What people ought to be seeking are jobs with shorter hours. As you can see from the chart, more than 40 percent of these employees claim to work at least 50 hours a week. Nineteen percent of male respondents claimed to be in the Stakhanovite 60-plus-hours class, versus 6 percent of the women. By the same token, women were much more likely than men to be in the 20-39-hour category, by a margin of 26 percent to 8 percent.