At milewalk, we are fully committed to bringing valuable insight to the workforce.  Irrespective of your vocation, we believe all companies and individuals can support the growth of our economy.  We can help achieve this by elevating awareness of key employment information that will help companies manage their employees more effectively as well as enable individuals to make smart career choices.

Following is the report from our second annual employment survey.  The survey was initiated to help provide awareness of key factors that affect our work lives.  We thank all participants who provided this information. We also welcome any questions and additional thoughts.

We distributed this survey to over 5,000 individuals with 755 responding.  The respondent base included individuals who hold positions within management and information technology consulting firms, software companies, and other prominent organizations.

It was evident from the results there is a precipitous uptick in how employees feel about their current companies and jobs.  While there is still sizable residue from the recent market melee, there is also an extremely strong upward shift (percentage-wise) when comparing the current year’s assessment to last year’s.

When polled in 2011, we noted that the employee base had been quite mobile in recent years. This most recent survey showed an increase in tenure from the employee respondents, with a 30% improvement in those who have remained with their current organization for more than five years.

The far more noteworthy trend was the drastic improvement in the overall employees’ “happiness quotient” in how they felt about their companies and jobs. While 2011 showed many of them neutral in their feelings, 2012 showed 16% and 13% increases in employees’ happiness with their current company and job, respectively.  Of greater note is the fact that those employees that were happy to very happy outnumbered those that were unhappy to neutral by an almost two to one ratio.

One critical issue that was highlighted in 2011 surrounded how dissatisfied employees were with their current level of compensation.   The current year results shows that employees feel their compensation has been appropriately adjusted, including over 60% who responded that they were appropriately paid.

One of the more interesting shifts was related to the employees’ attitude toward job changing.  While 76.6% indicated they would be open to moving for the right opportunity (down from 85.7% from last year), the more paramount statistic is the 64% increase in those that claimed they would not be willing to move.

As we reviewed the employees’ attitude toward critical areas of their current positions and companies, career development opportunity once again nudged the management team as the most disappointing.  Even so, when we evaluated which criteria would lead the charge as they turned to new opportunities, (once again) compensation, role, and culture (in that order) reigned as the top three.  These criteria show the continued shift from years prior when company, culture, and boss were held in high regard.  The most noteworthy change from last year is that the already number one criteria moving forward—compensationpicked up more steam.  This year, there was a 14% increase in that criterion alone.

As the employees turn to evaluate the market, they will lean heavily on their personal networks (97.9% indicating so). That is a great sign for organizations that rely heavily on employee referrals to grow.  Much like last year, 82.6% will also turn to executive recruiters.  The most notable change from 2011 is the 13% increase in the use of social media sites (76.5% citing).  This is no surprise considering the popularity and effectiveness of the tools.

As we turned to the hiring officials and reviewed their assessment of upcoming needs, important criteria for the candidates, proficiency level of their recruiting functions, as well as additional avenues they deploy to fulfill their employment needs, we confirmed the continued upward trend for hiring.  Over 83% of hiring authorities indicated they will be hiring this year.  The biggest change from last year is that 32% of those indicated they will add more than five resources to their teams, which constitutes a 60% increase from the previous year!

With the hiring needs in place, these officials cited “time to fill” as the greatest disappointment.  Candidly, we believe that “time to fill” is not the actual issue, but a symptom of a lack of quality candidates (the second most disappointing criteria).  Employers simply move more quickly when they have a quality candidate in their recruiting pipeline.  Over the last seven years, our historical milewalk statistics indicate a 38.2% greater level of efficiency in these cases.

Interestingly, although 92.4% of the hiring respondents indicated they leverage internal recruiting functions to satisfy their recruiting needs, 35.8% also use executive recruiters and 32% supplement their staff with independent contract recruiters. The most noteworthy shift in this area is related to the use of Recruiting Process Outsourcing models, which saw a 28% drop in use from previous year’s expectations.

As companies interview potential employees, they will favor cultural fit and capabilities over track record of achievement and specific skill sets.  While this has historically been the case, specific skills had become a greater focus in the last few years because the hiring needs have waned.  What we are noting in practice is that this shift is becoming greater and organizations are now trying to recruit “best athletes” even if they don’t have the specific skill sets.  It is our opinion that this precipitates from the difficulty employers are encountering in their recruiting efforts.  This is statistically supported by the 10% drop from last year’s ranking related to employers wanting Specific Skill Sets and a 16% increase they now place on Capabilities.

View full results here.