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Survey: Many Americans ready for job change

A majority of Americans plan to seek new jobs in the coming year, but most indicate their decisions are tied to an improving economy.

In the Washington metropolitan region, companies are in the process of planning to add staff in the coming months, said Paul Villella, president of HireStrategy, a Reston-based professional staffing firm. HireStrategy meets annually with its client companies to discuss their staffing needs. In 2002 and 2003, he described those meetings as "abysmal."

"There has been a lot of downsizing the last few years. Now that there is true growth, companies feel the pressure to hire," he said. "Also, the people who remained employed were forced to wear multiple hats. As a result of the experience they gained, a lot of employees are now ready to move."

Nationally, a pair of online surveys conducted in January by America Online and TrueCareers found more than half of Americans plan to change jobs within the next year. The AOL study found 58 percent of respondents "may" or "definitely will" start looking for a job this year, while the TrueCareers study found that 2/3 of respondents plan to change jobs.

The TrueCareers survey found that 46 percent of respondents are seeking to increase pay or responsibilities by switching jobs. Both surveys also noted that many would consider a change of careers as well.

"More than one-third of respondents say that they have been passively searching for a new job," Cecelia Dwyer, president of Reston-based TrueCareers said in a statement. "Employers that are not doing enough to retain good personnel may lose valuable assets as the economy improves and new jobs are created."

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