More Workers Start to Quit – by Joe Light

Posted: May 27, 2010 in Business, Real Life

As the job market begins to loosen up, human-resource managers might increasingly be surprised by an announcement from employees they haven’t heard in a while: “I quit.”

[Click here to find an online degree program]

More from WSJ.com:

Job Market Picks Up, But Slowly

Back in the Job Hunt, With New Hope

College Grads’ Outlook Grim

In February, the number of employees voluntarily quitting surpassed the number being fired or discharged for the first time since October 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Before February, the BLS had recorded more layoffs than resignations for 15 straight months, the first such streak since the bureau started tracking the data a decade ago. Since the BLS began tracking the data, the average number of people voluntarily leaving their jobs per month has been about 2.7 million. But since October 2008, the average number dropped to as low as 1.72 million. In March, it was about 1.87 million

And recent sentiment indicates that the number of employees quitting could continue to grow in the coming months. In a poll conducted by human-resources consultant Right Management at the end of 2009, 60% of workers said they intended to leave their jobs when the market got better. “The research is fairly alarming,” says Michael Haid, senior vice president of global solutions for Right Management. “The churn for companies could be very costly.”

Adecco Group, a world-wide staffing firm based in Zurich, has seen several of its clients ask for candidates for key positions after employees made surprise departures, says Vice President Rich Thompson. Although so far there haven’t been widespread departures, Mr. Thompson says his company is readying itself for large-scale changes within the next few months. “We’re preparing for a massive reshuffling of talent at all job levels in all industries,” he says, noting that the recession earlier this decade was so short and shallow that the turnover this time around is likely to be much greater.

Recruiters and human-resource experts say the increase in employees giving notice is a product of two forces. First, the natural turnover of employees leaving to advance their careers didn’t occur during the recession because jobs were so scarce. This created a backlog of workers waiting for better times to make a move to better jobs. The median monthly voluntary turnover rate in 2009 was 0.5%, half of the rate in 2008, according to the Bureau of National Affairs, a specialized news publisher for professionals.

During the recession, even if they heard of an opening, employees were reluctant to switch employers, says Peter Cappelli, director of the Center for Human Resources at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. “The idea of moving when the world was already in uncertainty was quite scary,” he says. But those hang-ups are disappearing, and employees are becoming more receptive to recruiter calls and beginning to tap their networks again for signs of opportunities, he says.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s