Rate of leaving U.S. jobs is at highest since 2001

11/19/2018
 

Today’s job market is ripe for job hoppers and employees are keeping their eyes open for their next big opportunity. Employers are scratching their head, struggling to retain staff in the most job seeker favorable market in over a decade.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 2.4% of employed American workers had voluntarily quit their job by end of July 2018. The last time the voluntary quit rate was this high was April 2001.

It only makes sense that job postings have exceeded the number of unemployed people then, as of July 2018.

In a market that is custom tailored for job seekers to find their next big opportunity, unpacking the reasons and trends behind these job seeker’s decisions can be useful in understanding them and how to make them stay.

Employees are voluntarily quitting their jobs at the highest rate since 2001.

Job Hopping Motivations

A couple of years ago I covered the reasons why millennials can and should job hop. The reasons stay pretty consistent over time, but the motivation for job hopping can vary year to year.

According to the 2018 Jobvite Job Seeker Insights survey, 19% reported compensation as the top factor for job hopping. Lack of growth was cited as a reason by 13% of younger workers.

Compensation is an obvious reason why an employee may walk out the door, but lack of growth is a particularly challenging reason. The problem employers face is they are trying to navigate what the market looks like in the future for the company foremost before they can paint a picture for an employee of where they can take their career. The job an employee might want to progress to might not be needed next year.

Another interesting point the survey revealed was the difference in motivation for job hopping between men and women. Female job seekers were more likely to leave for better work-life balance, while men were more likely to leave for better compensation.

Modern Networking Is King

Networking and referrals have been the primary way people land jobs in recent decades, but it has taken on a whole new life of its own since social media became the norm. LinkedIn and other networking tools now make it possible for job seekers to easily find connections at their company of interest.

The Jobvite survey found that 35% of respondents obtained their current or most recent job from a referral. I personally think this number is a low percentage representation of the overall market. Referrals often mean that your resume gets placed at the top of the pile, giving you an unreasonable advantage over job seekers who just apply online.

Further, job seekers are looking beyond their immediate network and pursuing community forums and alumni networks to broaden their reach to different jobs and companies.

Revolving Door

According to the Jobvite survey, 30% of job seekers have left a job within 90 days of starting. Frankly, this statistic shocked me, even though I am part of the 30%. Let’s take a closer look at the reasons behind this.

The three main reasons cited for leaving a job within 90 days were that the day-to-day role wasn’t what they were expecting, a bad experience drove them away or company culture was a problem. These explanations match my reasons for leaving a job within 90 days of hire.

“I was shocked by that number!” said Rachel Bitte, chief people officer at Jobvite, a recruiting software and applicant tracking system. “But with company culture and job satisfaction more important than ever today, employees just won’t tolerate a poor fit. It is not uncommon today for prospects to field multiple job offers at a time, so if one doesn’t work out, another one could be waiting in the wings. That’s why it is so critical for companies to take the interview and onboarding processes so seriously, because understanding what a candidate wants out of a job and setting them up for success in the beginning clearly has longer term effects.”

If you are an employer, hiring manager, recruiter, or people manager, you should be carefully reading the information about employees who leave. We know that employee turnover is an incredibly expensive problem. Why lose an employee within the first three months of hire? That’s a complete waste of time and money.

As Bitte mentioned, company culture and onboarding are crucial. Even if you know your culture is less than ideal, being forthcoming during interviews and hiring are so key to making sure you are bringing a candidate on that will be prepared for what they find on day one.

Onboarding may be even more important than transparency during hiring. Nobody wants to feel like an outsider or wants to struggle to accomplish their daily tasks at work. Set them up with the tools they need to be successful. Introduce them to at least one person in every area of your business that they can go to for help. Give them an explanation of all the company acronyms you use. Help them understand how to be successful in their environment. It goes a long way in making them stay for the long haul.

Always On Culture Among Millennials And Gen Z

The Jobvite survey found that 82% of younger workers check emails after hours, as compared to 66% of older workers. Further, 51% of younger workers feel pressure to work on weekends and after hours, versus 34% of older workers.

Millennials were the first digital native generation, meaning they have only known a world that has technology integrated into every facet of their lives. This may be the primary reason for the acceptance of little difference between their work and personal time.

“The ‘always on’ mentality is certainly more popular with younger employees, but this demographic also knows the value in time away from work,” said Bitte. “I’ve had employees on my teams leave a job and take a year off to travel the world or build out a side hustle. I think they’re more apt to work longer hours to fuel a different lifestyle. The important thing is that they find balance in some aspect.”

If you are a job seeker, maybe your reasons for leaving a job line up with what has been mentioned in this article. If not, there is more detail in the Jobvite Job Seeker Insights survey that wasn’t covered in this article.

If you are an employer or people manager, pay close attention to the motivations listed for why employees leave. The modern workforce doesn’t allow for employers to simply pay high salaries or provide a suite of benefits. Employees are looking for more than that and can find it elsewhere. Listen to what they are asking for and see if you can meet them halfway to retain your staff.

 
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