Businessmen walk on a street in Tokyo July 31, 2007.REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

NEW YORK - Employers and employees have dramatically different opinions of why workers remain in their jobs, says research released on Tuesday showing U.S. companies may struggle to retain employees in an improved job market.

Employees cite benefits, financial compensation, and their career growth and earnings potential as the top three reasons they stay in their jobs, according to a survey by Spherion Corp., a recruiting and staffing company.

Their employers list management climate, supervisor relationships and culture and work environment as the top reasons they think employees stay, it said.

Employers listed benefits, financial compensation, and growth and earnings below those factors, and employees put management climate, culture and work environment and their supervisor relationship much lower on their list, it said.

We see this big disconnect between what employers believe is the reason somebody stays ... and what employees say, said Spherion Chief Executive Roy Krause.

From the employers' standpoint, they believe it's all about culture and the relationship, he said. What we actually see when we look at employees is ... 'If you don't give me decent benefits and compensation, I'm out of here.'

The survey also found only 13 percent of employees said their employers were putting more effort into retaining them, the same as a year earlier. Thirty percent said their employers were doing less than a year earlier.

It found 37 percent of employees satisfied with their benefits, while only 27 percent were satisfied with their financial compensation and 24 percent with their growth and earnings potential, it found.


In an improved economy, with more jobs available, those varying attitudes could spell unwelcome high rates of turnover for companies, Krause said.

What happens when the market begins to turn? Do the people stay or do they take the first opportunity to leave? he said.

It's easy in the market today, where there's a lot of people available, just to say, 'Well, I just need the best accountant I can find,' without really thinking about attitudes and matching the way your company works with the way this person looks at the world, he said.

In other findings, 54 percent of workers said they did not believe they are paid what they were worth.

Only 40 percent of employers said they were very satisfied with the quality of their full-time work force.

The survey was conducted by telephone and online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Spherion between February 18 and March 6, 2009, among 306 U.S. human resources managers and between February 4 and March 16, 2009, among 2,519 employed U.S. adults. No estimates of theoretical sampling error were calculated. (Editing by Peter Cooney)