America Employed

  • Long and Potentially Challenging Road for Job Seekers as Employers Gain Upper Hand

    OKLAHOMA CITY - August 23, 2023

    • 35% of Workers Actively Looking for Other Opportunities
    • Latest Results from The Harris Poll

    Note: If you would like to arrange for an interview with a local Express franchise owner on this topic, please go to to find the nearest location.

    More than one-third of employed American job seekers are on the hunt for better opportunities (35%) but may be in for a long, and potentially challenging, journey as most feel employers have the upper hand (61%).

    This is according to a recent survey from The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.

    Employed job seekers have worked for their current company for an average of seven years, and say salary (44%), benefits (39%) and work-life balance (37%) are absolutely essential elements of a job. It appears their current job is falling short of these expectations, as fewer report being very satisfied with their salary (26%), benefits (32%) and work-life balance (34%).

    In fact, more than 1 in 3 employed job seekers report dissatisfaction with their advancement opportunities (36%), reskilling/upskilling opportunities (35%) and remote work opportunities (33%). Around 3 in 10 are dissatisfied with their current job’s personal fulfillment (30%), salary (30%) and company culture (29%).


    The dissatisfaction of these job seekers appears to align with the top reasons for their search for new opportunities, which include finding/negotiating for better compensation (42%), finding better growth opportunities in their current industry (37%) and finding the work/life balance they want (such as flexible schedules and remote work) (37%).

    Many report the biggest fear regarding their current job is not getting the salary increase/raise that they deserve (39%) followed by changing team structure, such as getting a new boss or merging teams (30%), the company reducing the workforce due to economic climate (26%) and never being promoted (25%).

    Despite the desire to find job opportunities, job seekers feel employers have the advantage in salary negotiations (61%), flexible schedules (60%) and remote work arrangements (59%). They are also split on how easy (51%)—or difficult (49%)—it will be for them to find a job in the next six months.

    However, hope is not completely lost.

    More than 3 in 5 (62%) believe it will take six months or less to find a job and around a third (34%) believe there will be more job opportunities in the field they are in or want to be in compared to a year ago.

    Looking ahead, job seekers believe over the next five years, the best job prospects will be in technology (46%), healthcare and social assistance (42%) industries. Interestingly, younger job seekers are more likely than their older counterparts to say media and entertainment real estate, and advertising/marketing will have the best job prospects over the next five years.

    “While the nation’s unemployment rate is still low, these survey results tell us the tight labor market could be easing to produce more balance between job openings and available workers,” said Bill Stoller, Express Employment International CEO. “However, there’s still work to be done to recruit top talent, and it appears salary, benefits and work/life balance are what employees are after.”

    Survey Methodology

    The Job Seeker survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals among 1,010 US hiring decision-makers (defined as adults ages 18+ in the US who are employed full-time or self-employed, work at companies with more than 1 employee, and have full/significant involvement in hiring decisions at their company). The survey was conducted June 8-22, 2023. Data are weighted where necessary by company size to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in our surveys. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 3.2 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. This credible interval will be wider among subsets of the surveyed population of interest.


    If you would like to arrange for an interview with Bill Stoller to discuss this topic, please contact Sheena Hollander, Director of Corporate Communications and PR, at (405) 717-5966.

    About Bill Stoller

    William H. "Bill" Stoller is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment International. Founded in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the international staffing franchisor supports the Express Employment Professionals franchise and related brands. The Express franchise brand is an industry-leading, international staffing company with franchise locations in the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

    About Express Employment Professionals

    At Express Employment Professionals, we’re in the business of people. From job seekers to client companies, Express helps people thrive and businesses grow. Our international network of franchises offers localized staffing solutions to the communities they serve across the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, employing 579,000 people globally in 2022 and more than 10 million since its inception. For more information, visit