Although the U.S. economy remains robust and the unemployment rate continues to hover at a historically low 4.1%, employee optimism about the job landscape is not enough motivation for employees to seek out new career opportunities—nor to extend more effort in their current positions, according to CEB, now Gartner.

Data from the CEB Global Talent Monitor indicates that 46% of U.S. employees report a high intent to stay in their current jobs.

This is significantly higher than the global average of 35%, reflecting that for almost half of U.S. workers, new job opportunities are not tempting enough to jump ship, nor are current job conditions driving employees to go elsewhere.

Additional data from the report shows that only 24% of U.S. workers expressed a high willingness to go above and beyond at work; three out of four workers reported either neutral or low discretionary effort levels.

As employees have less motivation to exceed job expectations, yet plan to stay in their current positions, employers could see declines in productivity.

While compensation remains the top driver of attraction for employees, organizations need to identify new ways to improve motivation levels across the workforce and not just focus on financial incentives to retain their top talent.

Wages Must Increase to Spur Greater Effort

"Employees are clearly demonstrating complacency in their careers—they aren’t looking for new opportunities, but they also aren’t going out of their way to work hard in their current roles," says Brian Kropp, HR practice leader at CEB, now Gartner.

"Part of this complacency is being driven by employees’ expectations for minimal annual compensation increases and bonus pay, which is leading to lower productivity and engagement levels.

Three out of four workers reported either neutral or low discretionary effort levels.
"To counter this situation, leaders need to think about how to incentivize employees to remain motivated. Without additional compensation and other key rewards, workers’ desires to go above and beyond in their jobs will remain limited."

According to Q3 2017 data, almost two-thirds of workers are unhappy with their compensation.

On average, U.S. employees expect a 2.6% increase in base pay and a 0.6% increase in bonus pay this year—both below the global averages of 3.8% and 2.9% increases, respectively.

Organizations that are able to meet employees’ compensation expectations will be in a better position to retain key talent who are willing to work harder.

Creating a Strong Employee Value Proposition

With unemployment at a record low and employees who are not actively seeking new positions or to work harder in their current jobs, U.S. employers must devote time and energy to develop a comprehensive employment value proposition that best positions their organization as a top employer of choice.

"An organization’s EVP is how the labor market and employees perceive the value they gain by working in an organization," says Kropp.

"Rewards play a critical role in any EVP, especially in the U.S. where employees rank compensation as the most important factor when considering a job.

"As employers develop and implement their EVP, they can improve recruiting efforts and employee retention rates while helping to differentiate themselves from competitors."

CEB data shows that organizations with attractive EVPs can decrease annual employee turnover by 69% and increase new hire commitment by 29%, ultimately enabling organizations to create a high-performing culture, build a leadership bench, and increase satisfaction levels across their labor force.


Survey methodology: Global Talent Monitor data is drawn from the larger CEB Global Labor Market Survey which is made up of more than 22,000 employees in 40 countries. The survey is conducted quarterly and is reflective of market conditions during the quarter preceding publication.