The number of people who quit their jobs reached 2.7 million in October of 2014. That number reflects a positive shift in the economy as more jobs have become available and employee confidence has increased.
What Do The Numbers Mean?
Job quits, defined as voluntary, employee-initiated exits from a job, are directly related to an increase in the number of jobs being created. November saw a whopping 321,000 jobs added to the marketplace, nearly 100,000 more than the monthly average over the past year. Professional and business services were responsible for 86,000 of those jobs, reflecting significant gains in accounting, computer systems design, technical consulting, and engineering. Trucking and health care industries are also experiencing a surge in open positions, creating fierce competition to find the right person for the job.
With all those businesses seeking new talent to fill openings, employees who currently hold less than optimal positions now have greater confidence to begin a job search. Job quits reached their lowest point in April of 2009, when there were just .7 quits for every layoff. Fear of the pink slip kept many employees working hard with their heads down through the worst of the recession, but now that the economy has taken an upward turn, those same employees have begun looking around to see whether a better position is available.
That’s good news for employers, many of whom need to fill technical positions that require specialized skills. Workers looking for a better salary, better utilization of their skills and knowledge, or better work environment may be willing to make a switch when the right offer comes along.
How Do Job Quits Affect Hiring?
Gains in the economy have encouraged more people to consider accepting a more attractive position, a sentiment that is highlighted by the surge in job quitting (and switching). With job openings at their highest level in 13 years, hiring competition has also escalated, especially for jobs in the business and financial sectors. Businesses looking to attract the best talent will need to rethink their hiring strategy. In addition to better compensation and benefits packages, many companies now also offer perks such as:
- Leadership development courses
- Professional development opportunities
- Flex hours
- Signing bonuses
Younger workers, especially, are looking for more than just a great salary. They also want to feel fulfilled professionally and may leave a high-paying position for a comparable one elsewhere that allows them to better use their education and skills. Employers with a strong employee brand based on positive culture may be more appealing to workers than those who have placed less emphasis on work environment.
Companies should also be looking for passive candidates to fill specific niches. When the position requires a specific combination of skills and experience, the best person for the job may not be actively seeking work. That’s when networking and personnel referrals can produce a more successful result than traditional methods.
Keeping Employees on the Payroll
While the job quits numbers have a positive implication, they also mean that employers will need to work harder to keep their best employees. Now is the time to reevaluate compensation packages and consider other means of keeping employees happy in their positions. Many workers cite advancement opportunities, good team fit, and the chance to make meaningful contributions as reasons they love their jobs. At the end of the day, a job that is creatively fulfilling may be more attractive than a signing bonus.