Are Your Employees Quitting in Their Seats?

Gartner Global Talent Monitor data shows much of today’s workforce is antsy and disengaged. HR needs to dial up the employee value proposition to boost employee engagement.

The New Year often brings thoughts of a new job. Employees, fresh with enthusiasm for their New Year’s resolutions, are often ready for a life change. This is especially the case when they feel the economy is booming and job prospects are plentiful.

According to the Global Talent Monitor, the “new year, new job” theme has been prevalent around the globe this year, with active job-seeking behavior at a four-year high in the 1Q18 survey.

Only 8% of the global labor force reports high discretionary effort and a high intent to stay

Not only were more employees actively looking for new opportunities, but their intent to stay with their current employer decreased for the second quarter in a row. Twenty-seven percent of employees were actively looking for a job, according to the survey, while just one in three (32.4%) said they intended to stay with their current employer.

The Global Talent Monitor captures how employees and job seekers around the world feel about the economy, their personal prospects and what motivates them — or doesn’t — when it comes to work. Our data is based on responses from more than 22,000 individuals in 40 countries, and offers insights into key metrics that can be used to understand labor market trends and inform recruitment and retention strategies.

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Eyes on engagement

HR leaders might assume that employees are still doing quality work, even if they have their eyes on job listings. Not quite, the survey shows. Global Talent Monitor data shows only 15% of employees are reporting high discretionary effort levels — that is, a willingness to go above and beyond at work. Only 8% of the global labor force reports high discretionary effort and a high intent to stay — suggesting the vast majority of employees are “quitting in their seats.”

“Today employees expect more opportunities to be promoted, attain higher wages and reap more rewards from their employer,” says Brian Kropp, Gartner HR practice group vice president. “Leaders will need to ensure workers believe that their organization’s employee value proposition (EVP) is better than, or at least on par with, their competitors.”

 Organizations with an attractive, competitively differentiated EVP reach deeper into the job market

This imperative is heightened by pervasive business confidence, which reinforces the sense for employees that alternative opportunities are available and waiting for them.

Our business confidence index, which measures employees’ confidence in near-term business conditions and long-term economic prospects in their industry, hit the highest level in five years (57.3%) in 1Q18. All major economies, from Asia and Europe to the Americas, reported a boost in employee perceptions of job opportunities in their current locations, industries and functions.

Given the environment, companies must boost employee engagement to retain the employees they have and attract new talent.

Read more: 9 Questions That Should Be in Every Employee Engagement Survey

Showcase your EVP

An effective EVP enables organizations to promote the key attributes that will appeal to the critical talent they want to attract and keep to continue pushing their business forward.

Our research shows that organizations with an attractive, competitively differentiated EVP reach deeper into the job market, decrease their annual attrition rates and increase new hire commitments. A strong EVP highlights work processes, people, organizational structure, career opportunity and rewards.

This article is based on insights that are part of an in-depth collection of research, tools, templates and advice available to Gartner clients.


Gartner for HR clients can read more in 1Q 2018 Global Talent Monitor and about measuring employee engagement.

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