Gartner Quarterly Update on Global Workforce Trends

The latest Global Talent Monitor shows discretionary effort and intent to stay increased for the third consecutive quarter in 1Q19.

Globally, employees’ willingness to go above and beyond at work, and their intent to stay with their employer, both increased modestly, according to 1Q19 data from Gartner’s Global Talent Monitor (GTM).

The engaged workforce — those reporting both high discretionary effort and high intent to stay — rose slightly to 8.2% from 8.0% in 4Q18.

“To continue increasing engagement levels among their employees, organizations need to invest in and deliver a strong employee value proposition (EVP),” says Brian Kropp, group vice president for human resources at Gartner. “Organizations with attractive EVPs can reduce the compensation premium needed to attract qualified candidates as well as potentially decrease annual employee turnover by just under 70%, all of which helps the company’s bottom line and brand reputation.”

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Companies in the U.S. are overpaying to attract new talent

GTM data on the U.S. shows that almost 25% of U.S. workers were actively looking for another job, a 7.6% increase from last quarter but still lower than the global average of 27%. The report also found that only 43% of U.S. workers expressed a high intent to stay with their current employers, a slight decrease from 4Q18 but significantly higher than the global average of 33%.

The U.S. insights also show that employers continue to extend lucrative compensation offers to persuade workers to switch companies, but the premiums needed to attract talent might not be as high as employers think.

“Not only are U.S. employers often paying too much to attract new talent, but once tenured employees discover discrepancies between their salaries and those of new colleagues, they may be more inclined to look for another position elsewhere,” says Kropp.

Brexit hampering job-seeking activity and business confidence in the U.K.

GTM data on the U.K. shows the number of employees there who are actively seeking new employment has plummeted. Active job seeking behavior there declined 9.6% from 4Q18 to 1Q19 and decreased 13% year-over-year from 1Q18 to 1Q19.

This slide in job-seeking behavior was paired with a continued drop in business confidence.

“This lasting, unmitigated uncertainty is having a significant drag on the optimism, work performance, and — ultimately — career decisions of employees in the U.K.,” says Kropp.

Also notable globally in 1Q19

  • Employees’ confidence in the business environment decreased, though perception of job opportunity globally increased.
  • Globally, 26.6% of the workforce is actively seeking new jobs, a slight 0.6% decrease from 4Q18.
  • The top three drivers of attrition for employees globally shifted slightly for the first time in fourteen consecutive quarters as compensation moved into the top spot, followed by career development opportunities and people management.
  • The top three drivers of attraction remained compensation, work-life balance and stability in the workplace.

About Gartner’s Global Talent Monitor

The monitor is a quarterly survey that 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. The data is drawn from the larger Gartner Global Labor Market Survey that 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.

  • Discretionary effort refers to employees’ willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty, such as helping others with heavy workloads, volunteering for additional duties and looking for ways to perform the job more efficiently.
  • Intent to stay refers to employees’ desire to stay with the organization based on whether they intend to look for a new job within a year, frequently think of quitting, have actively been looking for a new job, or have taken steps such as placing phone calls and sending out résumés.

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This article has been updated from the original, published on March 13, 2019, to reflect new events, conditions or research.

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 also access country, industry and functional detail from the Global Talent Monitor. These clients can also read more about the key components of employee experience and HR’s key initiatives for 2019 and beyond.

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