April Fool’s Day was the first Friday of the month, which means the US Bureau of Labor Statistics published its report on employment. It was another robust report showing that employment had risen by 431,000 in March, and the unemployment rate declined to 3.6 percent.
Just a few days earlier, the bureau released the February Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary, which showed that around 4.35 million people had quit their jobs that month. That meant the “quit rate” was holding pretty steady at 2.9 percent.
TechServe Alliance recently took notice of the rise in workers voluntarily leaving jobs and offered this reaction
“This increase in quits indicates that the demand for workers remains high, and employers continue to face challenges retaining employees at the start of the year. Various factors influence this high quit rate. Many workers are leaving their jobs for advantages including improved compensation, benefits or workplace flexibility, such as positions that allow remote work.”
That echoes what Chris Walters, our Senior Vice President, wrote in January. Chris wrote that the high quit rate is “an indication of the freedom and power US workers are now feeling. When they decide they don’t like their pay, working conditions, or company culture, they quit and then look for another job.”
It’s a phenomenon that shows no sign of ending soon. At the end of March, HR Dive reported on a survey that 80% of tech workers are considering looking for another job this spring.
Many of those workers aren’t just considering a move. More than half of survey respondents (57%) said they'd applied for another job in the past month, three-quarters (74%) said they'd talked to a recruiter in the past month and nearly half (49%) said they'd interviewed with another company in the past month.
What those numbers say is that companies already dealing with a shortage of skilled IT workers also face the likely prospect of losing the workers they currently have. It’s like a baseball team losing two of its starting pitchers to injury in the middle of the season; they have to scramble for a limited number of skilled talent while continuing to compete.
There may be a ray of hope on the horizon, according to TechServe Alliance’s The State of the Technology Talent Shortage post, which notes that the number of computer science and information science graduates is starting to pick up. The National Center for Education Statistics says the number of computer science and information science degrees conferred increased by 124% between 2009-2010 and 2018-2019, from 39,600 to 88,600. So the IT talent pool may be expanding a bit.
For now, though, employers are traveling a rocky road. Mark Roberts, CEO of TechServe Alliance, said that IT employment has been essentially flat for the last seven months.
Mark also said, “It’s up to companies to formulate their talent acquisition strategies that meet the expectations of the talent in terms of compensation and return-to-work policies. Additionally, to be successful in this environment, companies must be creative and diversify their approach to sourcing candidates.”
At LRS Consulting Services, we’ve been counseling our clients on compensation and work culture issues since we started. We know our clients and we carefully screen candidates to make sure they’re the right fit for each client’s needs.
That’s a tall order, especially in the current employment environment, but we’re up to the challenge. Let us know what needs you have and we can talk about how we can help you.