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 a summary of the report from our 2015 annual employment survey. The survey was initiated to help provide awareness of key factors that affect our work lives.

We distributed this survey to over 9,000 individuals (excluding social media shares) with 827 responding. The respondent base included individuals who hold positions within management and information technology consulting firms, software companies, and other prominent organizations.

This employee base is showing staying power notwithstanding their high susceptibility to leaving. This staying power has created difficulty for employers attempting to hire top talent—especially at the highest levels. Over 43% of hiring officials responding have been with their current employer for more than 5 years!

There was, however, a mild shift in happiness. From 2014, there were 12% and 13% drops for hiring authorities and employees respectively. This downturn, while relatively small, is a change from the much increased happiness trends during the previous few years. Another important point to note is that there is an increasing percentage of unhappy employees relative to happy ones. In 2014, seven out of eight employees were either happy or very happy with their company. In 2015, that number has dropped precipitously to less than one out of two.

One other element that shifted backward from 2014 was how employees feel about their compensation. Almost 1/3 of hiring officials and more than 2/5 of employees feel underpaid.

When it comes to job changing, employees’ attitudes and actions toward leaving their current employer has risen. Over 90% of employees are open to changing jobs and 57% of them actually took action to do so in the past year! Yes—90%!!

As we reviewed the employee’s attitude toward keys areas of their current positions and companies, career development opportunities 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, culture, and role (in that order) reigned as the top three.

One other trend we’re noticing as we recruit for our clients is that employees apparently care more about what they do than for whom they do it. While we try to teach our job candidates that “you join a company, you don’t join a job,” the data would seem to support that they are far more concerned about their specific position than many of the other critical factors.

As employees evaluate the market, there was no surprise that an overwhelming majority (89%) would tap their personal network. Oddly, however, those using traditional job sites has risen to 63% (up 20% from 2014). Holding consistently from last year was the number that would turn to executive recruiters (77%).

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, there was a mixed review of hiring. Even so, there was consistency from last year that the market is generally healthy. Slightly over 77% of companies indicated they were augmenting their resources in 2015 with 16% citing the need for more than five resources (within their hiring purview).

With the hiring needs in place, these officials cited “time to fill” as the greatest disappointment (for the fifth year in a row). 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 ten years, our historical milewalk statistics indicate a 38.2% greater level of efficiency in these cases.

We reviewed the people and service-related avenues that organizations deploy to satisfy their hiring needs. While almost 87% deploy a corporate recruiting function, it’s worth noting that this figure is down from 2014. Furthermore, companies have significantly cut the use of RPO’s and Independent Contract Recruiters and replaced those services with Executive Search Firms (up 22% from 2014). This is typically a sign that companies are seeking difficult-to-find specialty resources more so than larger numbers of easier-to-find resources.

As companies interview potential employees, they will favor cultural fit and capabilities and over track record of achievement and specific skill sets. While this has historically been the case, specific skills had become a greater focus a few years ago when hiring needs waned. With hiring on the rise, companies have shifted their focus in the right direction.