Nearly one-third of workers plan to quit: Conference Board

Dive Brief:

  • Nearly one out of three workers (31%) plan to quit their jobs in the next six months, and 94% of workers who left their companies during the past year do not regret the move, the Conference Board said, describing findings from a survey primarily of professional employees and office workers.
  • Only 38% of respondents said they plan to remain with their current employer in the next six months, the Conference Board said, citing the June 21-28 survey of 1,100 individuals. Nearly one out of four workers (22%) left their jobs for higher pay, while 17% quit for a more flexible work schedule.
  • “Despite worries of a recession — and the hiring slowdowns and layoffs that often result from a downturn — the labor market remains strong and this robust jobs market is continuing to empower workers,” according to Rebecca Ray, executive vice president of human capital at the Conference Board.

Dive Insight:

CFOs intent on sustaining profits face two big external challenges: the highest inflation in 40 years and pressure to raise wages to attract and retain employees in an unusually tight labor market.

Employees are jumping ship at near-record levels to seize on better pay and benefits elsewhere. The quits rate, or the number of workers who left their jobs as a percent of total employment, has wavered since June 2021 between 2.8% and 3%, the highest rate since 2000, according to the Labor Department.

Demand for workers surged in late 2020 as COVID-19 lockdowns eased and the economy rebounded. The 3.6% unemployment rate last month is slightly above the 50-year low recorded prior to the start of the pandemic.

The number of unemployed people looking for work has lagged demand for workers, with the number of job openings roughly twice the number of job seekers during several months through June, the Labor Department reported on July 8.

U.S. companies plan in 2023 to attract and retain workers by raising pay on average by 4.1% — the largest increase in 15 years, according to Willis Towers Watson (WTW).

Nearly three out of four companies (73%) attribute their planned pay increases to the highly competitive labor market, WTW said Thursday, describing a survey of 1,430 companies. Almost half of respondents (46%) cited employee expectations for higher pay as a cushion against inflation.

U.S. companies expect the labor market to loosen next year, in part because of the possibility of an economic slowdown and a decline in the demand for workers. While 94% of respondents currently have trouble filling open jobs, only 40% expect the difficulty to persist in 2023, WTW said.

Until then, CFOs will need to plan for the prospect of high attrition, especially among millennials, or workers born between 1981 and 1996, the Conference Board survey suggests.

One out of four millennials quit during the past year because of “job fatigue” compared with 11% of baby boomers, or workers born between 1946 and 1964, the Conference Board said. Job fatigue prompted one out of four women to leave their companies, compared with 13% of men.

“Combine the ability to work any time with heavier workloads as colleagues resign amid the Great Resignation, and it’s no surprise we’ve seen a severe increase in employees who are overwhelmed at work,” according to Robin Erickson, vice president of human capital at the Conference Board.

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