Employers may get some relief from the tight labor market’s pressures as job opportunities decline, labor shortages abate and big pay increases for changing companies begin to slide. The Great Resignation is becoming a thing of the past, said ADP Chief Economist Nela Richardson. Now, we’ve a Big Stay.
Whether or not they’ve heard the predictions, workers have picked up on the trends. According to research from Qualtrics, one in four U.S. employees believe they would struggle to find a new job if they lost their current one. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the national quit rate fell from 2.9% to 2.5% between March 2022 and March 2023.
The Qualtrics study of 3,000 employees hinted at a willingness by employees to put in extra effort to shore up their job security. That, they believe, is a better idea than pursuing higher pay or better benefits in the midst of an economy that seem tenuous at best.
“In an uncertain economy, job security is king,” observed Qualtrics Chief Workplace Psychologist Benjamin Granger. “More employees staying put eases some of the pressure on employers after two years of worker shortages.”
The shift marks a sea change in the U.S. labor market, especially for white collar employees. For months, workers have had the upper hand in their job search but now, as layoffs continue and the debt ceiling debate threatens economic stability, workers aren’t so confident they’ll land on their feet. Anthony Klotz, associate professor of management at University College of London, told CNBC. that quits have slowed to the point where “it’s like the pandemic never happened.”
“If you’re getting what you want from your current job, there’s less incentive to quit,” Klotz said. “We can’t discount the fact that millions of jobs are better now than they were three years ago, thanks, in large part, to the policy changes companies have made.”
About a quarter of individual contributors – those who don’t manage any employees – were most likely to say they think they’d struggle to find a new job in today’s market. In contrast, only 12% of senior leaders believed they’d face the same challenges.
Miriam Connaughton, chief people and experience officer at Simpplr, cautions employers that the Big Stay will be temporary. “[E]mployers need to avoid complacency as some talent challenges are alleviated – for now,” she said. “History tells us that voluntary turnover is, of course, dampened when economic headwinds are more challenging. History also tells us that when we come out of such times, competition for talent heats up very quickly.”