The unemployment rate is 8.3%. Better than a year ago, but still 8.3%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that there are 12.8 million unemployed workers in the United States. Most believe that the real number is closer to 18 million – the difference being those who have been unemployed so long that they’ve given up hope in finding a job.
There’s no doubt that the economy is showing signs of improvement. However, last Tuesday the Dow lost more than 200 points – the single biggest one-day loss in 2012. Gasoline averages $3.80 a gallon and is predicted to top $4.00/gallon by summer. Fears of the European economy tanking and taking the U.S. economy with it are still strong. And the anticipation of a myriad of tax increases hitting businesses and individuals on January 1, 2012 creates enormous uncertainty.
Job satisfaction in the U.S. continues to decline and the percentage of workers who report being engaged is less than 33% by some measures.
So this next data point is somewhat astonishing, and cause for concern by HR professionals everywhere. According to data released today by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the numbers of workers who are leaving their jobs voluntarily continues to grow and outpace the number of workers who are leaving their jobs involuntarily.
The graph shows that during good economic times the number of workers who leave their jobs voluntarily is larger – significantly larger – than those who are involuntarily terminated. It stands to reason. If they don’t like their boss, if they don’t trust their CEO, if their work isn’t meaningful, if another company offers more money – they resign.
It also stands to reason – and the chart shows this clearly – that in bad economic times the number of workers who quit voluntarily drops precipitously. Leaving your job in a really bad economy– without a new one to go to — defies logic. And unless the situation is unbearable, most people are logical when it comes to their employment and cash flow.
Most would agree that the economy is still bad. There are still millions of workers looking for jobs. The economic and political environments are shaky. Yet the number of people thinking “I can’t take it another day – there’s got to be something better than this: I quit” is growing. In this economy. With these uncertainties.
What does this say about the level of dissatisfaction and disengagement within our workforces?
What does this say about the cultures of our organizations?
What does this say about our ability to retain the talent that we need?
Well, if you’re an optimist like I am, this is what you think:
What a great opportunity we have to create a differentiated employee experience!
What a great time to start strengthening our culture!
What a great time to start recruiting!