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Stand back and take cover. That apparently is the only way you’re going to avoid being hit by all the employee résumés and job applications flying through offices these days.

Glassdoor Inc., a Sausalito, Calif., company that assists workers in finding those hard to identify jobs within companies and helps recruit for specific openings, says its latest survey finds that nearly one in five American workers will begin looking for work by the end of March.

It also says that one in three workers expect to look for a new job sometime this year.

Why the sudden interest in switching jobs?

It’s pent up demand by workers who were clinging to any job they could in a troubled economy and now seem poised to jump ship for a better opportunity. Apparently, the patience required to put up with downsizings, increased work loads, and stagnant pay levels has nearly run out.

“Now that it appears the extreme highs and lows are behind us, the slow and conservative pace employees are seeing within their own employment situation is causing employees to evaluate if now is the time to see if the grass may be greener with another employer,” says Rusty Rueff, a Glassdoor career and workplace expert.

Traditional employee/employer bonds such as career growth opportunities, company values and relationships with supervisors got fairly low marks in Glassdoor’s survey. Just 30 percent of workers said growth opportunities were a factor in them seeking work, while only 16 percent said they would look for a company with compatible values and 10 percent said they valued their relationship with their supervisor

Even the cherished relationship with peers is suffering. Only 7 percent of workers said that was important today.

Instead, economic gain and lifestyle seem to have increased importance. Seventy three percent identified salary and compensation as key motivations to looking for work while 55 percent said they were seeking a more suitable commute or job location.

This is the swell that workplace experts have been projecting for some time. Though it was hard to pinpoint when workers would look for new jobs, the experts pointed to a growing alienation during the past few years while companies were more concerned with weathering a severe recession than raising living standards for their work forces.

An unemployment rate that is showing signs of a sustained drop and a belief by 40 percent of workers that they will get some sort of salary increase or cost-of-living increase this year wasn’t enough to mitigate the concerns of workers. Glassdoor reports that 17 percent of workers still think layoff is a possibility over the next six months.

If Glassdoor’s survey is correct, the result could cause dramatic short-term turbulence within businesses, forcing them to boost hiring wages and increasing benefit packages.

“It is now more important than ever for companies to engage with employees to find out what will keep them satisfied and strategize new ways to attract and retain their workforce, or face an impending growth in their turnover rate,” Rueff says.

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