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We Can’t Win With Employers – Now Too Many People are Staying?

I can’t decide if the Wall Street Journal is just trolling us, or if employers have lost their minds, but here’s the headline:

The New Headache for Bosses: Employees Aren’t Quitting

Seriously? The quit rate is now so low, mostly due to macroeconomic factors, that big banks and Wall Street firms are going to have to do some layoffs because they expected more attrition and didn’t budget for this many people staying in their current jobs.

You’d be forgiven for being confused given how long and loud employers have been about disloyal employees or finding people willing to work, etc.

I can’t say that I really know what’s going on. Yes, there can be issues when there isn’t any turnover, mostly because there are no openings for promotions, but we also need to consider the fact that some entry-level positions are designed to be short-term. If you think about it, this makes sense. We see this most clearly in law firms and the big consulting firms. Every year a new group of associates is brought in, and there’s an expectation that each year there’s some weeding out of the class until individuals either get the net promotion or leave. It’s odd for someone to simply stay as a law firm associate. It’s usually either becoming a partner, or getting off the partner track onto something different, but you don’t just sit in an associate position if you don’t make the cut.

We don’t tend to think about other jobs this way, but personally, I’ve seen it. There are certain jobs that are fairly entry-level, the path to promotion is blocked and the expectation is that you’ll leave after a few years at most. Those that didn’t, usually found themselves pushed out, because the last thing the organization wanted to do was keep giving raises to the person in the job currently. They wanted to go back and grab someone fresh out of college at a lower rate and start the whole process over again.

The thing is, there are still so many people who look at a resume with a few different jobs in the early years and see someone who is unstable, all the while employers are designing these jobs to turn over, and then laying people off when they don’t turn over as much as they expected them to. So maybe stop worrying so much about whether changing jobs is going to look bad and focus on finding a place where you can do the work that you want to do.

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