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Press Release

Employee Leverage Increases As Labor Market Strengthens
Workers around the Globe Increasingly Unlikely to Make a Move; Work-Life Balance and Career Experiences Key for Employers Scrambling to Attract Top Talent According to CEB

ARLINGTON, Va., March 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite a stronger labor market, employees have mixed feelings about the condition of the global economy and are less likely to seek out new jobs, according to CEB (NYSE:CEB), a best practice insight and technology company. The company's Global Talent Monitor for Q4 2015 indicates that fewer than one-in-four employees (23%) are actively searching for a job, and more than 40 percent plan to stay with their current employer for the next 12 months. This is making it increasingly difficult for employers to find and convince candidates to make a move, and is giving employees more power in employment discussions.

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"We saw a shift in power in Q4 from employer to employee," said Brian Kropp, HR practice leader, CEB. "Employees see a more robust labor market, but they aren't compelled to make a change. In fact, last quarter we saw a higher premium on stability than we have in the past. This suggests that employees would rather bet on 'the devil they know' than gamble on the unknown of a new job, making it far more difficult for recruiters to source top talent."

[Listen to Brian Kropp's podcast for a deep dive on labor market trends and prescriptive guidance for talent-focused executives]

In Q4 the global divide deepened related to employee perceptions of their personal job prospects:

  • Latin America, now in the throes of recession, experienced steep declines in employee optimism. Workers in Brazil and Mexico in particular made dramatic exits from job seeking with drops of 12.5 percent and 11.7 percent respectively.
  • Workers in Asia remained most optimistic about the job market, coming in four percent higher (53.6%) than the global average (49.3%). Despite high marks, optimism trended downward, likely tied to market volatility in China. Even with unprecedented market shifts, employees in the region—including those in India, Malaysia and Indonesia—were some of the most active job seekers in the world.  
  • Europe stood in stark contrast to Latin America and even Asia when it came to job prospects. Employees in the region were increasingly optimistic and have been enjoying an upward trend for three consecutive quarters. Despite brighter possibilities though, Europeans were of like mind with Latin American employees when it came to their current employers—they're staying put.

While it may appear to employers that attrition risks are lessening, they need to remain vigilant in driving productivity across the workforce. This is especially true in North America where employees are more likely to stay in seat, but less likely to go above and beyond on the job. Discretionary effort elsewhere is on the rise, but remains fragile and can easily be reversed if employees continue to be disappointed with their future career opportunities or fail to achieve acceptable work-life balance—two of the top drivers of attrition worldwide.

"Employers that want to convince candidates to work for them should effectively communicate their work-life benefits. This is now the number one thing employees consider when choosing between employers in most developed countries," Kropp added. "This is not about building a gym or having a drycleaner on site; it's about giving employees the gift of time. Employers need to think about how they can create flexibility in the day to allow workers to do the things that are important to them. And, to keep top talent in seat, companies need to ensure they are delivering new career experiences. Employees understand they can't get promoted every year, but if they don't feel like they are challenged and growing, they're going to walk out the door."

Global Talent Monitor data is drawn from CEB's larger Global Labor Market Survey and is made up of more than 20,000 employees in 40 countries. The survey is conducted quarterly and is reflective of market conditions during the quarter preceding publication. Visit to learn more and compare talent data from around the world. 

About CEB
CEB is a best practice insight and technology company. In partnership with leading organizations around the globe, we develop innovative solutions to drive corporate performance. CEB equips leaders at more than 10,000 companies with the intelligence to effectively manage talent, customers, and operations. CEB is a trusted partner to nearly 90% of the Fortune 500 and FTSE 100, and more than 70% of the Dow Jones Asian Titans. More at

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