Study Indicates War for Talent Back On in the Workplace


Employees Starting to Think about New Jobs and More than Half of Generation Y Workers Interviewing

Melville, N.Y., April 20, 2010 – Despite economic reports that the end of the recession is near or already over, 86 percent of U.S. adult workers feel the economy is still in a recession. This is according to the latest Workplace Insights Survey from Adecco Group North America, the world’s largest recruitment and workforce solutions provider, conducted online in March on their behalf by Harris Interactive®.  In addition, 78 percent of workers believe this is the worst job market they’ve ever seen in their careers.  Regardless of these feelings, however, workers of all ages are starting to think about (or have already started to explore) new job opportunities. This trend indicates that a “war for talent” has begun and that employers should brace for workforce changes in the year ahead. 

According to the survey, Generation Y is the most ready for change in the year ahead. In fact, compared to the end of 2008, the percentage of Gen-Y workers looking for a new job in 2010 has more than doubled (from 14% to 30%) and more than half (51%) of workers plan to go on (or already have gone on) a job interview as the economy begins to recover. And they are not alone – 30% of Generation X workers, 29% of Baby Boomers and 22% of workers aged 61 and over also have interviewed/plan to interview in the year ahead.

Additional survey findings include:

  • Older Generations Focused on Keeping Their Jobs: Unlike younger generations of workers (Gen-Y), Silent Generation workers (workers ages 61 and over) are focused on keeping their current jobs. In fact, 66% of these workers say that keeping their job is their number one work-life concern, but only six percent are willing to take a pay cut to stay in their current job.
  • Baby Boomers Working Harder but Don’t Anticipate Rewards: Forty-one percent of Baby Boomers feel they are working harder than they were a year ago but nearly half (47%) of this generation does not expect a raise in 2010.
  • Confidence Waning in How Good President Obama is for the Economy: Despite the recent passing of a jobs bill, workers are beginning to doubt how good President Obama is for the job market. At the end of 2008, 67% felt President Obama would be good for the economy and today just over half (53%) feel this way.
  • Workers More Focused on Contingency Planning than in the Past: About a quarter (26%) of workers are saving more money for potential unemployment than they used to. In addition, 42% of Silent Generation workers are delaying retirement plans as a result of the economy.

“In the recent past, we’ve alluded to the likely impending arrival of a renewed ‘war for talent’ – a time when job opportunities will rebound and ultimate opportunity/control will shift from employer to employee,” said Rich Thompson, vice president of training and development at Adecco Group North America. “These survey findings indicate that that is now starting to take shape and employees’ mindsets have started to shift – they are ready for a change after riding out one of the worst recessions in American history and open to new opportunities. We caution employers to focus their efforts on retention plans for the months ahead and encourage employees currently in transition to consider temporary employment as way to try out a new career.”

Adecco Group North America provides the following tips for employers as the “war for talent” begins:

Listen to Your People - The more “in touch” you are with your employees’ needs, the better they will feel about putting forth their best efforts.  Encourage managers and senior leadership to schedule meetings and regular check-ins with all employees, giving them multiple forums to share their ideas and concerns.

Invest in Your Talent– One of the best ways to show your commitment to employees is by providing them with effective training and development tools and resources. For some, they may be looking to stretch their skills and further boost their knowledge.  Consider providing in-house seminars tuition reimbursement for education that will benefit the company.

Explore what Motivates Your Team – When employees reward your company with outstanding results, reciprocate the effort by finding out what motivates them most – monetary compensation, recognition, opportunities for promotion, etc.  Seek out different ways to reward employees and stay competitive.

About the Adecco Group:
The Adecco Group, based in Zurich, Switzerland, is the world's leading provider of HR solutions. With over 29,000 FTE employees and more than 5,800 offices, in over 60 countries and territories around the world, Adecco Group offers a wide variety of services, connecting more than 500,000 colleagues with over 100,000 clients every day. The services offered fall into the broad categories of temporary staffing, permanent placement, outsourcing, consulting and outplacement. The Adecco Group is a Fortune Global 500 company.

Adecco S.A. is registered in Switzerland (ISIN: CH0012138605) with listings on the SIX Swiss Exchange (ADEN) and on Euronext in France (ADE).

About Adecco Group North America:
Every day we provide our clients with the talent they need, and help solve the business challenges they face today – and will encounter tomorrow. Our clients rely on us for a wide range of workforce solutions including:

  • Contingent staffing and direct hire recruitment for large enterprise organizations across all skill sets
  • Workforce solutions and consulting including Managed Srvices Programs (MSP) & Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)
  • Career transition and leadership consulting
  • Specialty staffing, project solutions and consulting services

Additional information is available through our websites and

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

About this American Workplace Insights Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Adecco from March 26-30, 2010 among 2,222 adults ages 18 and older of whom 1,149 are employed full time and/or part time. Results were weighted as needed to reflect the composition of the U.S. adult population. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Vannessa Almeida.

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Anthony Guerrieri       
Adecco Group North America 
(917) 434-4296                                  

Vannessa Almeida            
Adecco Group North America          
(727) 743-7191                                          

For the purposes of this survey workers were defined as U.S. adults ages 18+ who are employed full time and/or part time unless otherwise noted.

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