The value of people, the power of place

Bad news: Approximately 20% of your workers are considering quitting their job. Better news: About half say something could be done to get them to stay. And, while a majority of workers unsurprisingly rank competitive wages highest among factors affecting work decisions, newly released insights from a survey of 5,000 adults across Northeast Ohio show better wages are just the table stakes for today’s talent game.

“Where Are the Workers?” is the latest public initiative of the Fund for Our Economic Future, the organization I lead. For nearly two decades, we have been working to understand what matters, drive what works and prepare for what’s next in pursuit of a more equitable, prosperous Northeast Ohio economy. “Where Are the Workers?” brings together insights from the referenced survey and input from more than 600 employers and offers actionable ideas for anyone in the business of attracting or retaining talent.

Paying attention to what workers say matters. Even with concerns about a coming recession, talent shortages persist. There are nearly two open jobs for every worker in the U.S., yet finding or keeping a job has been difficult for nearly one in five Northeast Ohioans over the past year. While the region’s employers say their top talent strategy has been increasing wages, barely half of workers say they earn enough to meet their needs. And, as we’ve discovered, the way workers are reacting to today’s economic uncertainty is different than in past economic crises. While the instability of the Great Recession had the effect of scaring many workers into taking jobs they might otherwise not have settled for, today increased stress from the pandemic seems to have prompted many to ask, what makes the trade between work and life “worth it”?

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