Millions of workers were involuntarily booted from their jobs during the peak of the recession, but as the summer of 2011 rolled around, an increasing number of workers quit their posts voluntarily.
Nearly 2 million workers left their jobs in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, representing the highest number since November 2008.
Ryan Gatto, regional manager for northern New Jersey at Robert Half International, in Parsippany, said the numbers likely have to do with employee frustration.
“In the last two to three years, companies have been cutting headcount substantially, so people have been taking on more and more work without necessarily receiving the (additional) compensation,” he said.
Gatto said he suspects many workers have decided they would rather leave their jobs than continue to be overworked, even if they haven’t lined up new jobs.
The good news for employers, Gatto said, is that hanging on to burnt-out workers doesn’t have to be complicated — or costly. Gatto said employee recognition and professional development programs can go a long way toward boosting worker morale and employee retention. And he said companies need to do a better job of promoting from within.
“It goes back to hiring from within and promoting from within, so employees can see that there is a career progression and their work is being recognized,” he said.
Gatto said cautious optimism about the economy is likely implicit in some workers’ decisions to hand in their two weeks’ notice, though he said optimism and job prospects can vary widely by sector. Accounting, finance and health care have been strong recently, he said.
Still, Gatto advised workers not to give up their jobs — and employee benefits — without lining up their next post.
“If you are going to leave a permanent position, you should definitely be leaving that position to go to another permanent position,” he said.