Recession left "walking wounded" workers

Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:04pm EDT
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By Nick Zieminski

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Many workers around the world have given up hopes of advancing in their jobs, but the bad economy is keeping them from finding new ones.

Such "walking wounded" workers are increasingly exchanging ambition for job stability, which now even trumps pay as a consideration, according to a biennial survey by the human resources consultancy Towers Watson Co.

People are becoming "nesters," who prefer to stay in one career or with one employer for their entire career.

The report highlights a disconnect between what such "nesters" want and the growing trends that are shaping the global workforce: an increasing emphasis on flexible staff and short-term employment, more offshoring and part-time work.

"People are increasingly wanting things that are harder to get," said Max Caldwell, a leader of Towers Watson's talent and reward business. "They'd like to settle into one or two companies for life. What people want is security, stability and a long-term employment relationship, (which are) increasingly out of reach."

Globally, a third of workers prefer to work for one organization their whole life, according to the study, while another third want to work for just two or three employers.

That preference for "nesting" reflects anxiety about jobs prospects and about factors like healthcare costs and retirement planning, expenses that are increasingly being shifted onto workers rather than carried by employers.

In the United States, almost twice as many workers expect continued deterioration in the jobs picture as those who expect improvement. A majority -- 51 percent -- say there are no career advancement opportunities at their jobs, but nonetheless 81 percent are not actively looking for a new position.   Continued...

<p>A pedestrian walks through steam and rain during a multi-day nor'easter rainstorm in Boston, Massachusetts March 15, 2010. REUTERS/Brian Snyder</p>