Me and My Job? It’s Complicated.

I’ve been writing about ‘The Great Resignation,’ for a while, and now new research from TopResume, the world’s largest resume-writing service, proves that simply getting a paycheck doesn’t buy happiness. In honor of Valentine’s Day this year, TopResume asked 510 employed professionals, “What’s your relationship with your current job?” and today announced the results of its nationwide survey to uncover how they describe their availability.

The survey presented employees with four options to express their commitment to their current job:

  • I’m in an open Relationship: “I have a job, but I’m open to new opportunities.”
  • I’m in a committed Relationship: “I love my job and am not looking for other opportunities.”
  • It’s complicated: “I don’t love my job, but I’m not sure if it’s time to jump ship.”
  • Unspecified: “I’m unsure how I feel about my current job.”

Here are the results:

Only seven percent of respondents describe themselves as being in a “Committed Relationship” with their employer, while the majority of employees are open to hearing about new opportunities (72%) or have fallen out of love with their jobs but are conflicted about breaking up (13%). 

I spoke to Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for TopResume, as well as a certified professional career coach (CPCC) and certified professional resume writer (CPRW) about the results, and she says she wasn’t surprised by the high number of employees who consider themselves to be in open relationships.   “The results just confirm what we’ve been hearing for a year now anecdotally,” she said. “The job market is red hot right now and many people are open to exploring other options. They’re wondering ‘could I do better?’”

It makes sense that those who have been in their jobs less time would consider themselves open to other opportunities.  In the survey, those with 15 years of experience or less were more likely to have an “open relationship” with their job versus those with 16 or more years of experience. Those with 20 years of experience or more were the most conflicted about their jobs — they aren’t necessarily happy, but not sure if it’s worth making a change. They have probably ascended to leadership in their company and may have retirement issues to consider.

For the record, those who identified as “Female” were more likely to be in an open relationship with their jobs (77% vs. 68% of Males). Those who identified as “Male” were actually more likely to be committed to their job (11% vs. only 4% of Females).

And Augustine doesn’t being open to other offers is a bad thing for anyone, but perhaps especially for women. “It’s just easier to move up by moving around,” she says. “You can get a significant salary increase much more easily in another company than you can by trying to negotiate with your current one.” She believes that even if you really love your current job, you should be aware of opportunities that might advance your career or help you earn more. “If nothing else, this pandemic has taught us all that your company, your job – anything, really – can change in an instant. People who keep their options open will have more options if something happens to their current job.”

What would tempt workers to consider other offers?  Those who described themselves as being in an “Open Relationship” or a “Complicated Relationship” with their employers were asked, “What matters most when considering a new job?” and were presented with eight options. “Company Culture” was the top priority, garnering 30% of the responses, while “Salary and Bonus” (25%) and “Flexible Schedule” (17%) came in second and third place, respectively.

That’s changed over the past couple of years, says Augustine. “For many years salary was the key reason people considered moving on, but culture started showing up more and more as a motivator,” she says. “It used to come in just a point or so above salary, but this 5-point gap is probably a byproduct of the pandemic. Any culture issues a company had prior to the pandemic were magnified tremendously when people became isolated and anxious.”

The last time TopResume did the relationship survey was five years ago. It’s interesting to note that the percentage of people in 2022 who described themselves as being in an “open relationship” with their current employer is nearly identical to the results of the 2017 Valentine’s Day survey. But the percentage of professionals who describe themselves as being in a “committed relationship” with their employer is only half of what it was in 2017 (7% in 2022 vs. 13% in 2017).

Do you have a wandering eye when it comes to your job? Take my informal job relationship survey here.

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