chartLeading HR services and staffing company Randstad has revealed that a large portion of U.S. employers feel that the sluggish economy has stymied their ability to move forward in their careers. The newly released Randstad Engagement Index found that 43 percent of workers think their career paths have slowed since the recession and that they will require significantly more time to meet their career goals. About half of employees also reported that the only way to grow their careers is to find a new employer.

However, most employees continue to be engaged with their jobs and have largely positive attitudes about their jobs and employers. The survey found that 75 percent of respondents expressed inspiration to do their best at work while 66 percent feel valued and satisfactorily recognized. But the number of workers who expressed plans to investigate other job opportunities jumped to 51 percent, up from 45 percent in Q1 2012.

“U.S. workers have been committed to their jobs during the last few years, but companies will lose top talent now if they don’t address employees’ fears around stalled career growth due to the economy,” said Jim Link, managing director of Human Resources for Randstad U.S. “Employers need to examine career development options for their employees before workers begin exploring a career catch-up with a new company. At that point, it’s often too late and employers lose solid performers because they weren’t in-tune with their career needs and goals.”

Over one-third of employees agreed that the most important activity for remaining engaged is opportunities for promotions or performance-based financial incentives. Other activities found to be important for engaging employees include: a comfortable and stimulating work environment (30 percent), the encouragement for employees to share their ideas and opinions (28 percent), and the investment in employees’ careers through professional development and continuing education.

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