The Data Behind the Great Resignation - American Society of Employers - Kevin Marrs

The Data Behind the Great Resignation

employee exits

Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary.  This most recent report sheds some light on the great resignation and reveals what many have assumed.  Employee quit rates are at an all time high.  Specifically, the federal agency reported that 4.4 million people left their jobs in September, and the annual quit rate stands at 3% for the month, a series high.

The BLS reported that certain industries experienced the largest increases in quits.  Specifically, arts, entertainment, and recreation (+56,000); other services (+47,000); and state and local government education (+30,000) witnessed the largest increases.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) highlighted that according to separate surveys from Mercer and Qualtrics lower-ranking employees and female middle managers or more likely to be flight risks in this tight labor market.  In fact, in the Qualtrics survey, it was revealed that just 63% of female middle managers intend to stay in their jobs next year, down from 75% in 2021.

For low-wage workers, Mercer found that more than a third (37%) of food, retail, and hospitality workers are considering quitting their jobs.  The norm for that industry is typically 27%.  Many of the low-wage workers cite insufficient pay and benefits and demanding workloads as reasons for the intent to leave.

There are many reasons driving the “Great Resignation”.  The WSJ article points to a labor market with plentiful job openings, childcare demands, and an increase in household savings that have spurred worker separations.  They argued that employers are now looking to revamp their hiring processes with an eye at a broad rethink of job qualifications that could bring more people in the labor supply.  In line with this shift, ASE’s recent Employee Turnover Survey revealed that 30% of participants have adjusted their job requirements to expand the pool of applicants.

ASE’s survey revealed that most employers in Michigan have turned to expanding their marketing efforts (64%) and using of third-party recruitment services (55%) to battle their recruitment challenges.  This is likely born out of necessity but may only be a short-term solution to a larger problem that will persist as our labor market continues to change and adapt to the pandemic.

Access to the full ASE Employee Turnover Survey is available to ASE members at no cost and can be found in the ASE Member Dashboard at  Non-members can request to purchase the survey results by completing this form.


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