Breaking Boredom: What's Really Driving Job Seekers in 2018

A new Korn Ferry survey finds money isn't what's pushing executives to look for new work this year.

With the job market so strong it may not be surprising that more people are looking for new employment. But it turns out money isn't why they are doing it.

According to a new Korn Ferry survey of nearly 5,000 professionals, the top reason people are looking for a new job in 2018 is because they are bored with their current job. One third of respondents said they’d want a new job because they were looking for a new challenge. Only 19 percent said their top priority out of a new job is a higher salary – lower than the number of people who say they are looking because they lost or expect to lose their current employment.

The latest U.S. employment report, released Jan. 5, confirmed that 2017 was the fourth year in a row the nation added at least 2 million more jobs. But experts who reviewed the survey said that would-be job seekers may be going about their search the wrong way. The first step of a job search, according to 23 percent of respondents, was to update their resumes.

“Many job searchers spend an inordinate amount of time perfecting a resume, but that alone won’t land them the job,” says Gary Burnison, Korn Ferry’s CEO and author of the new book Lose the Resume, Land the Job. “Given that an average of 250 resumes are received for every corporate job opening, blindly sending out resumes is patently passive and illogical.”

A better approach would involve some early self-reflection and networking, Burnison says. “Long before job seekers look ‘out there’ for a job, they need to begin inward—with who they are and what they have to offer,” he says. “With this clear understanding, candidates can target their search to where they will be most satisfied and make the greatest contribution.” 

While employees are looking inward, they need to be talking to others to learn about their professional experiences. Many respondents already value the power of networking; 44 percent said it was the first step in a new job search. “The truth is, networking is not about you—actually, it’s the opposite. Networking is about relationship-building, and relationships are not one-way streets,” says Burnison. “The best approach is to make networking a natural part of ongoing interactions with people, by focusing first on how you can help them.”