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A coming mass exodus?

Chris Farrell Jun 21, 2011

It seems like a far off time–okay, it’s a long time still–but at some point workers will flee from their current employer. Management will suddenly confront the reality that a lot of skill and energy is walking out the door. (As I say, this isn’t happening anytime soon.)

The itch to leave looks real. For instance, the Wall Street Journal has a story on a survey suggesting that one-third of U.S. Workers are ready to quit.

Thirty-two percent of U.S. workers say they are seriously considering leaving their employers, according to a survey released Monday by Mercer LLC, a global consulting company. Mostly young workers — 40% of employees ages 25 to 34 and 44% of those 24 and younger — have one foot out the door.

I’m not surprised that so many younger workers are eager to look for a new job. It’s how they’ll earn higher pay and get new responsibilities. My guess is that many more older workers are also feeling the urge to leave.

Yes, aging baby boomers have gotten the job-tirement message: Earn an income well into the traditional retirement years.

That doesn’t mean they’ll stick with their current employer. Job lock is a consequence of a poor economy. For example, in 2009 a mere 43.4 percent of workers 65 and over said they were satisfied with their job, down from 70.8 percent in 1987, according to a 2010 Conference Board report. I realize that’s a pretty old information by now, but I don’t imagine the sentiment has changed much for the better considering the economy of the past year.

Put it this way: Baby boomers aren’t going to retire. They won’t stop working. But when the gloom lifts we could see a mass exodus of baby boomers who have kept their mouths shut but are eager to leave their employer.

If this includes you–whether young or old–the prudent personal financial thing to do is save and save and save. It will give you the flexibility to move when the time is right.

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