(CareerBuilder.com) -- The economy is beginning to improve, and -- for the first time in a few years -- you may be thinking of leaving your employer for a new job.
In fact, according to a survey released by Mercer LLC, a global consulting company, 40 percent of employees ages 25 to 34, and 44 percent of those 24 and younger say they are currently considering a job change.
But, if you've got one foot out the office door, you may want to pull it back inside. (Quick, before anyone sees!) Why? Because your employer may be more willing than ever to give you an incentive to stay.
"Employers are concerned about losing their top performers because as the economy improves, new positions are available for employees to take advantage of," says Tina Chen, vice president of operations at The Wilson Companies, a firm that provides outsourced human resources services to businesses nationwide.
And, when an employee -- especially a top one -- leaves a company, it can put strain on the company in a number of ways, stress that many employers would rather avoid.
"When it comes to losing talent, it is not just about losing your top employees but also about losing the relationships the employees have built with clients, with other members of your staff, and lastly the loyalty and trust that they have gained in your company," Chen says. "Losing a top performer is like losing a small piece of the heartbeat of your business."
In addition to the stress that losing a great employee puts on an employer, replacing that employee can also prove challenging, Chen says.
"The solution is no longer as easy as just hiring a replacement but rather, searching for the missing integral pieces that would complete the puzzle of your company."
As an employee, all of this boils down to one thing for you: that your employer might rather give you a raise or promotion, or concede to a more flexible schedule than see you walk out the door.
Now, before you go barging into your boss's office demanding a raise ('Now that the job market it looking up a bit, if you don't pay me more, I'm going to find someone who will!'), there are a few factors to consider.
Namely, what's motivating your desire to change jobs. If it truly is just a matter of wanting a raise or promotion, then it's worth it to have "the talk" with your boss. If you don't like the company or want to explore new career options, then your job satisfaction probably won't increase just because your salary does.
If you do decide that your career needs could possibly be met by your current employer, the next thing to do is prepare a case for yourself, Chen says.
"The employee should think the conversation through prior to approaching the employer because it is never certain where the conversation will go; the employee should chart out where they are, where they want to be, and how they can get there. If it is a matter of money, they need to justify it with examples of their work, positive contributions to the company, and if they have increased revenue or saved the company money during their tenure," she says.
Also, keep in mind that you don't need to mention that you will be looking around for other jobs if you don't get what you're asking for. Just expressing that you're not satisfied with your current pay, job level, schedule, etc., should be enough to tip off your boss that you may look elsewhere if your needs aren't met.
"Many times, top performing employees have an open relationship with their employers," Chen says. "The employer is more likely to hear the employee out and consider what the employee has to say because they would like to retain the employee within their organization."
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