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New year, new job, more optimism

By Nick Easen for CNN

Employees are more optimistic about their careers this year.
Employees are more optimistic about their careers this year.

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(CNN) -- A few months in and New Year's resolutions are already beginning to look a little shaky.

For some, weight loss programs and health drives have fallen by the wayside. The only other pledge at the top of many lists is: Finding a new job.

And this year, employees are apparently planning to do it in their droves. In a recent survey of over 25,000 Europeans, over half planned to change jobs in 2004.

Those in Denmark and Luxembourg appear happiest in their current work, while the Dutch and Irish are the most keen to move on, according to recruitment Web site, Monster.

A similar but smaller poll across the Atlantic found that nearly nine out of 10 U.S. professionals, and those with a degree, said they planned to look for new work in the coming year, according to the TrueCareers Web site.

Both surveys agree that employees see the job situation in a better light than last year, in terms of the number of jobs available and the expectations for growth in jobs.

"With the economy starting to show signs of recovery, employees would be strongly advised to fully explore their career options," Hernan Daguerre of Monster said in a statement.

Research has widely shown that we can expect to change careers at least three times in our working life, although in the future job changes could become more frequent.

"Companies do not have a regard for loyalty like they used to," Caroline Noblet, employment partner at Hammonds solicitors told CNN.

"Employers are running on the basis that they pay for what they get and if they do not want someone then basically they let them go."

Although we maybe somewhere between "jobs for life" and the "project-based economy," each industry sector differs.

Advertising and marketing executives are actively encouraged to move within the industry, while others sectors are not so flexible.

But these industries are not where growth is most apparent. Last year healthcare, sports, recreation and the insurance sectors had the greatest upturn in jobs, according to Monster.

So what drives people to move? According to, those wishing to move on, especially in sales, are primarily motivated by the desire to earn more, as well as advance their careers and find more rewarding work experience.

Employees are also getting more savvy about when it is the right time to leave their employer as well.

"I think people are getting smarter, I mean we live in an information age so there is a lot more readily available to people," said Paul Cronin, of the Work Foundation in the UK.

"They can get a sniff that there is some problem within the organization they work for, and there are lots of different ways for them to find out what's going on."

-- CNN's Andrew Carey contributed to this report

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