Voluntary Quits Stayed Strong in January

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How many tech professionals quit their jobs in January?

According to new Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some 534,000 professionals in the Professional and Business Services category (which includes technology jobs) voluntarily quit in January, down from 614,000 in December.

It’s worth noting that turnover in December was at its highest level since tracking began in 2002.

Many economists treat the level of voluntary quits as a measure of economic health, assuming that people are leaving their current employers in order to pursue better opportunities at other firms (or as freelancers). If the economy is weak, the thinking goes, people are less likely to quit their jobs; but when there’s substantial demand for professionals of all skill-sets and experience levels, those same people feel more confident about trying something new.

As indicated by Dice’s most recent Salary Survey, jumping jobs is also a good way for employees to rapidly boost their wages. Some 23 percent of respondents said that their most recent salary increase was due to changing employers, second only to merit increases (at 37 percent).

Voluntary quits have stayed high for the past several months, suggesting that the tech economy remains strong.

Image Credit: xtock/Shutterstock.com

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One Response to “Voluntary Quits Stayed Strong in January”

March 24, 2016 at 8:54 pm, ReVeLaTeD said:

“Voluntary quits have stayed high for the past several months, suggesting that the tech economy remains strong.”

And as I noted on the previous iteration of this illogical observation, this is faulty logic.

People don’t quit in a strong economy. They quit because of poor conditions. Either poor work/life balance, poor salary growth potential, or the employer simply making stupid decisions that hurt the company.

If you’re a web developer in a company that decides to do locally installed software, you’re not very valuable anymore, are you? You no longer match “the vision” and thus you quit.

If you’re a project manager making $80k at a company where the median is $100k, you’re not too valuable to that company, are you? You don’t match “the value” and thus you quit.

If you’re working at a company that has cut staff every quarter for 3 years, you’re clearly expendable too given time, aren’t you? You don’t match “the mission” and thus you quit before you get cut.

None of the above are signs of a strong economy. They’re indicators that the economy is weak. A strong economy is one where salaries require minimal-to-no negotiation to be “fair”, where layoffs are the exception rather than the rule, and where a person actually enjoys coming into work every day.

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