Job optimism is high as 41% of workers plan to look for a new job in the first six months of 2022, according to Robert Half's biannual job optimism report, which surveyed more than 2,400 employees.

That's up from 32% six months ago, said regional director Dora Onyschak. She added that the top reasons why workers are quitting include salary boost (54%), better benefits and perks (38%), and the ability to work remotely permanently (34%).

Surprisingly, the report also found that 28% of workers would quit their current job without even having another job lined up.

"Professionals know that they are in demand in the market, so my guess would be is that they're not as concerned as they perhaps have been in prior years," Onyschak said.

The report also found that 66% of the Gen Z professionals felt that their careers have stalled since the start of the pandemic. These younger workers want to be challenged so they are the ones who would typically start to look for a new job if they're unsatisfied, she said.

About 49% of employees who have been with their company for two to four years and 47% of technology workers are also most likely to start job searching in the first half of this year.

Onyschak said about 87% of workers feel confident about their current skill set and 61% plan to seek a promotion as the next step in their career. Also, 54% said they are looking for fully remote opportunities.

There are potentials for employers to bring on remote workers, Onyschak said. Accessing a wider talent pool is a huge help especially in this tight market.

There's an opportunity to save on compensation costs if an employer hires someone in different cities with lower costs of living. There's also opportunities to retain current employees if the employee is considering re-locating elsewhere.

She said employers must be able provide the right tools and technology for an employee to be successful as a remote worker.

In turn, employees must have a proper work-from-home setup with equipment, supplies and a quiet space to work.

With a huge chunk of the workforce looking for a new job in 2022, Onyschak said employers need to be concerned but there are ways to retain top talent and even bring back lost talent.

Employers need to make sure they're providing competitive compensation and benefits packages. Be flexible in terms of hours and remote work. Make sure to talk to the employees and discuss their long-term goals and make a professional development with them so they can see longevity with the organization.

Conduct job interviews with current employees and discuss what can be done to make them happier. It's an opportunity for the employer to let them know they're vested in them. Remind them of the unique benefits the organization offers. Listen to an employee's needs and concerns. Make them feel important. Let them know how their efforts are supporting the business and how critical they are to the company's success.

Onyschak's final piece of advice for employers: Never assume an employee is happy and never assume that even if someone is a top-performing employee that they plan on sticking around.

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