A snapshot of how fierce the competition for talent really is

It’s not unusual to hear human resources professionals declare that they’re fighting a war for talent. A new study from LinkedIn puts into context just how competitive it is to not only lure employees, but to retain them.

LinkedIn surveyed 18,000 workers in 26 countries, asking them a series of questions about their job satisfaction and workplace values.  The whole report is insightful, but the responses to one particular question are especially revealing. Participants were given a list of 18 career-related activities and were asked to say which ones they had done or experienced in the last month.

 


(Chart from LinkedIn’s Talent Trends 2014 report)

 

A full 39 percent of them said they’d been contacted by a recruiter during that time period. That so many workers received overtures from a recruiting professional is evidence of how aggressive the hunt for candidates has become. And it is perhaps evidence that LinkedIn and other social networking sites have made it easier than ever to search for candidates, especially passive job seekers—the ones who aren’t looking for new work, but could be swayed by the right opportunity.

Also noteworthy is the wide gap between how many people explored a new job with their current employer (14 percent) and those who explored a job at another company (29 percent).  The difference suggests that a greater share of employees would rather jump ship from their current employer than stay put and wait for the right opportunity.

A variety of factors could account for the distinction: Millennials have come of age being told that the days of the loyal company man or woman are over. In turn, they have expected and perhaps even welcomed the idea their careers would bounce them from company to company.

But that gap could also suggest that some companies are not building a clear pipeline for career advancement, or are not clearly communicating those options with employees.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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