More than Half of U.S. Workers Plan to Look For a New Job This Year, Korn Ferry Survey Finds

• Vast majority are optimistic about job market
• Nearly seven in ten plan to work on improving their physical appearance
• Twitter lags far behind Facebook and LinkedIn as job-search tools

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 14, 2014 – Landing a new job appears to be at the top of most New Year’s resolutions this year. Fifty-seven percent of Americans said they will be looking for a better position in 2014, according to a new survey by Korn Ferry International (NYSE: KFY), the global leadership and talent-consulting firm. 

The survey also found that 66 percent of those now in jobs are optimistic about the 2014 economic outlook. Despite the preponderance of potential job changers, though, fully a third of workers haven’t updated their resumes in over a year.

The top factors driving those seeking new employment: more money (48 percent), career advancement (27 percent) and boredom/job distaste (nine percent). Slightly more than half, 54 percent, said they’d be willing to work for less money for a more fulfilling job.

On the flip side of the equation, the recent economic downturn is still top of mind among those content in their jobs. They cited job stability/economic uncertainly (39 percent) and pay/benefits (23 percent) as the primary reasons for likely staying put.

“The sentiment within the labor market is more optimistic than it was at this time last year. As a result, the work force is feeling more empowered than ever – whether they are seeking more satisfying careers, looking to advance within the organizations they serve or sharpening their leadership skills,” said Gary D. Burnison, CEO of Korn Ferry. “While the sentiment has shifted, the narrative on the overall economic climate has not changed dramatically. We are still in the throes of a new era – led by a fight for growth. The winning companies will be those that can find, retain and develop outperforming leaders in a slow-growth economy.”

When it comes to enhancing their career marketability in 2014, nearly seven in ten workers (67 percent) intend to work on improving their physical appearance via diet, exercise and/or new professional attire. 

The survey also gauged the impact of social media as job-search tools. According to the survey respondents, Facebook (38 percent) and LinkedIn (33 percent) are the two most valuable social media tools for finding jobs. Twitter is a distant fourth at six percent, far behind even the 23 percent of respondents who cited “other.”

Detailed survey results:

How many years have you been in the workforce?

1-5 years         16.1%

6-10 years       20.1%

11-20 years     27.1%

21 years +       36.6%

What’s your highest level of education?

High school                             20.9%

Some college                          31.9%

Undergraduate degree            30.8%

Graduate degree                     16.5%

If you have a family, are you the sole financial provider?

Yes      53.5%

No       46.5%

When was the last time you updated your resume?

Within the last month                          22.3%                         

Within the last six months                   31.9%

Within the last 12 month                     12.8%

More than a year                                33.0%

Do you plan to look for a new job in 2014?

Yes      57.1%

No        42.9%

If you intend to explore new career opportunities in 2014, what is your primary motivation?

Career advancement                                                  27.1%

Improving economic outlook/job market                    7.0%

More money                                                               48.0%

Boredom/distaste for current job                                8.8%

Overworked at current job                                          4.0%

Disengaged culture at current job                               0.4%

Lack of trust in leadership at current job                    3.7%

Dislike my boss                                                           1.1%

If you're content in your current job, what is your primary reason for staying?

Job stability/economic uncertainty                                         38.8%

Solid pay and benefits                                                            22.7%

Opportunities for career advancement internally                   8.8%

Organization’s commitment to talent development                1.8%

I like my boss                                                                          11.4%

Favorable culture/I like my colleagues                                   10.6%

I play a major role in the organization’s mission                     5.9%

Are you planning to enhance your education in 2014 (graduate degree, continuing education, professional certification)?

Yes      41.0%

No        59.0%

Would you be willing to relocate for the right job?

Yes      64.1%

No       35.9%

Have you or would you consider taking a temporary job if a full-time position wasn’t available?

Yes      74.4%

No       25.6%

Would you be willing to work for less money for a more fulfilling/satisfying job?

Yes      54.2%

No       45.8%

Would you be willing to work for more money at a less fulfilling/satisfying job?

Yes      66.7%

No       33.3%

Are you optimistic about the jobs outlook for 2014?

Yes      65.9%

No       34.1%

What specific skill would you like to improve to enhance your job marketability?

Presentation                            19.8%

Leadership                              17.9%

Management                           26.0%

Financial acumen                   8.4%

Social media                           6.2%

Other                                       21.6%

What do you consider to be the most valuable social media tool in terms of career development?

LinkedIn          33.3%

Twitter             5.5%

Facebook        38.5%

Other               22.7%

Are you planning to enhance your appearance (diet, exercise, new wardrobe) to make yourself more marketable?

Yes      67.4%

No       32.6%


Korn Ferry and Survey Sampling International surveyed nearly 300 employed adults in the U.S., across regions and demographic groups, in November 2013.

About Korn Ferry
At Korn Ferry, we design, build, attract and ignite talent. Since our inception, clients have trusted us to help recruit world-class leadership. Today, we are a single source for leadership and talent consulting services to empower businesses and leaders to reach their goals. Our solutions range from executive recruitment and leadership development programs, to enterprise learning, succession planning and recruitment process outsourcing (RPO). Visit for more information on Korn Ferry, and for thought leadership, intellectual property and research.