Career Report
June, 2010 — Issue 124

More Workers Start to Quit

As the job market begins to loosen up, more workers are starting to quit their jobs and more are likely to do so in the months ahead, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal. Driving the trend, say recruiters and human-resource experts, are two forces: a backlog of workers who’ve been waiting for better times to move to better positions and low morale caused by heavy cost-cutting and downsizing during the downturn.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last month that the number of employees voluntarily quitting during February surpassed the number being fired or discharged for the first time since October 2008. Before February, the BLS had recorded more layoffs than resignations for 15 straight months, the first such streak since the bureau started tracking data a decade ago, the article pointed out.

Since the BLS began tracking 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 percent of workers said they intended to leave their jobs when the market got better. “The research is fairly alarming,” Michael Haid, senior vice president of global solutions for Right Management, told The Wall Street Journal. “The churn for companies could be very costly.”

Recruiters and human-resource experts provided some insight regarding the trend of giving notice. First, the natural turnover of employees leaving to advance their careers didn’t occur during the recession since jobs were so scarce. Consequently, this created a backlog of workers waiting for an improving economy to make a move to better jobs.

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

The other factor making it harder for companies to retain employees is the effect of the heavy cost-cutting and downsizing during the downturn on workers’ morale. A survey conducted last summer for the Conference Board, a management research organization, found that the drivers of the drop in job fulfillment included less satisfaction with wages and less interest in work.

“Employees feel disengaged with their jobs, which is going to lead to a lot of churn as we come out of the recession,” said Brett Good, a district president of Southern California for Robert Half International, an executive recruiting firm.

Indeed, increases in turnover can be costly for companies, the article pointed out. It typically costs an organization about half of the position’s annual salary to recruit a person for a job, said Right Management’s Haid.

Convincing employees to stay might not be cheap either. Nearly 5,400 members of, a job board for positions that pay $100,000 or more, responded to an April survey that asked how much more money it would take to convince them to stay if they wanted to leave. More than 20 percent said it would take a raise of more than $25,000. In all, about 50 percent of respondents said it would take more than $15,000.

For some employees, though, it might be too late though, according to the article., a job board for tech professionals, asked members what could persuade them to stay in their jobs if they found another opportunity. More than 57 percent of the 1,273 surveyed said nothing could persuade them to stay. Of those who said they could be persuaded, 42 percent said they wanted a higher salary and 11 percent wanted a promotion.

FREE Interactive Job-Seeker Webinar: Baby Boomer Interviewing Success Strategies

Our next Free Job-Seeker webinar will take place on Wednesday June 16th “Baby Boomer Interviewing Success Strategies”. Register for this webinar now by visiting The following is a sampling of what others have said about this webinar:

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We are both pleased and proud to announce that over 25,000 participants took advantage of this free program during 2009.

News from BLK

“As president of Berman Larson Kane, I offer special thanks and appreciation for the continuing increase in temporary, contract and direct hire orders from our clients. This continuous hiring increase is creating a new optimism in the job search process and helping propel BLK to a potential record year.” Bob Larson, CPC

Berman Larson Kane has recently increased it presence with and now is posting several of its job openings on this professional site.

We are pleased to welcome Jan Lebron to our research staff. Jan has joined our team as a Junior Researcher where his efforts will be focused in the contract and temporary divisions, sourcing potential candidates from deep within the talent pool.