New Survey Reveals How Quickly Employees Look for New Jobs

Tight Labor Market Allows Workers to Move Between Jobs Easily

In a tight labor market where job openings outnumber unemployed people, workers have more opportunities to change jobs, leading to increased turnover. Today, Express Employment Professionals is releasing an analysis of job tenure data, which reveals that one-third of job seekers have been in their current jobs for less than three years.

Express fielded two surveys. One asked business leaders about the average tenure at their companies. A second asked job seekers about their tenures at their current employers.

Full results are below. Key data points include the following:

  • 24% of business leaders said the average tenure at their companies was 5-10 years, while 18% said 10-15 years and 11% said 4-5 years.
  • 24% of job seekers said they have been with their current companies for 5-10 years.
  • 1% of job seekers said they have been with their current companies for 1-2 years, 11% said 2-3 years, and 9% said less than one year.
  • 11% of job seekers have been at their companies for more than 20 years.

Express franchise owners report an increase in turnover as relatively recent hires head to better opportunities at other companies.

“I see people leaving companies more quickly because they know they can walk next door and get a job,” said Daniel Morgan, an Express franchise owner in Birmingham, Alabama.

“There is definitely more employee turnover happening now than in the past,” said Niven Lee, an Express franchise owner in Delta, British Columbia. “This trend of employees working less time at an employer will continue as the labor market will get even tighter as baby boomers retire and there will be even more employers chasing after employees.”

Crystal Lake, Illinois, franchise owner Terri Greeno emphasizes that while this is common, it is not the case at every company.

“Companies that are aware of the rising wages in the market, and being proactive about enhancing employee engagement efforts and keeping salaries in line, will probably not notice a big impact,” she said. “On the other hand, companies that are not able to keep up with increasing pay rates will likely notice increased turnover.”

Morgan emphasizes that it has everything to do with management.

“Good management, good working environment, good benefits with competitive pay are all the marks of a company with strong tenure,” he said. “People don’t leave companies, they leave people.”

Reid Bates, an Express franchise owner in Olympia, Centralia and Aberdeen, Washington, analyzed local hiring data and saw turnover had increased markedly from 2017.

“I think it can be attributed to a couple of things,” he said. “In many cases, the employee is leaving early because of a better, more competitive opportunity. In other cases, the employer is not happy with the performance of a new hire as we are dealing with a small pool of available candidates.”

“I think the situation will continue with a tight labor market and the prevalence of better opportunities. Job seekers know their worth and see the potential rewards of changing jobs,” Bates added.

“Companies should continue to review their compensation on a regular basis to ensure it is competitive, prioritize company culture and most importantly, make sure their people feel valued,” Sarnia, Ontario, Express franchise owner Bruce Hein said. “A gesture of appreciation and a sincere thank you can go a long way.”

Janis Petrini, an Express franchise owner in Grand Rapids, Michigan, says the current labor market is dividing employees into two groups at companies.

“Many companies have their group of long-standing employees who have been there for many years, and then there is a group with less than several years of tenure who continue to turn over as people easily move from one job to the next,” she said.

“Employee loyalty must be earned,” said Bill Stoller, CEO of Express. “The data shows that even a company’s newest employees are keeping an eye on the market. It’s never been easier to move from one job to another, so employers have to invest in employee retention. They can’t depend on inertia.”

The survey of 237 employees was conducted through the Express Job Journey site, a blog for job seekers or those new to the workforce. The survey of 230 business leaders and decision makers was conducted through the Express Refresh Leadership blog.

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