It took a job candidate with a resume that listed several jobs where that employee only worked for six months to make Tim Grimes, co-founder of the job-seeking platform WorkYourWay, consider if it was actually a red flag.
That individual wasn’t hired, for reasons in addition to their short stays at companies, but it made Grimes consider what is an appropriate length of time for someone to stay at a company where it isn’t a red flag. Should people still be holding themselves to sticking it out at least a year at a new job?
People are getting more comfortable with leaving their jobs quickly these days. That could be because of a lack of loyalty to a company now, the different relationship Gen Z has with work, or factors compounded by the pandemic. LinkedIn conducted research on short tenure rate, or STR, which measures the fraction of positions that were held for less than a year, and found that it has increased over the past couple of years. Introducing: quick quitting.
“While quitting a job within the first year of taking it isn’t exactly a new concept, our data is showing that workers are leaving their roles more quickly than in previous years — and the conventional wisdom that you should stay at a job for at least a year no longer seems to hold for many professionals,” said Taylor Borden, editor at LinkedIn.
The report found that quick quitting increased most in the arts and recreation industry (an 11.6% increase year over year), followed by tech and media (10.5%) and administrative and support services (8.9%). However, quitting jobs from these sectors could be for very different reasons.
“The explanation may be that in the first group, people are leaving jobs rapidly because they’re frustrated with their circumstances,” said LinkedIn senior editor at large George Anders. “Meanwhile, in the second group, people are moving on because they’re getting even better offers from new employers.”
Industries including hospitals and health care, retail and real estate saw the largest decreases in STR.
LinkedIn found the trend of quick quitting began to pick up in August of 2021 and peaked in March 2022. While it’s come down slightly from that peak, it’s still up significantly year over year. Borden says other factors driving the rise of quick quitting include inflation, which is pushing workers to seek higher wages, a stable job market, and a rising demand for certain skills in well-paid industries like tech, IT and finance.
The problem for employers
“Employers have already been struggling to attract talent in a labor market where open jobs have outnumbered the number of people available to take them, and this growing openness to mobility among job seekers may make it that much more difficult for companies to retain talent long term,” said Borden.
With an uncertain labor market, employers most likely wouldn’t want to invest in someone who wouldn’t stick around.
“There are significant costs to a business when hiring people,” said Grimes. “If I know I’m going to have to hire someone again in six months, I want to try and avoid all those costs.”
However, if someone is going to stay for at least a year, it would justify those costs a little more. Aside from costs, having a high turnover isn’t beneficial to helping create a solid company culture between employees. At the end of the day, employers need to continue creating an atmosphere where people want to stay and grow to avoid them quitting in less than a years time.
What can be done
Step one is to get ahead of quick quitting. That means talking to employees about what they want out of their job, which might mean rethinking career development plans or overall company culture. A lot of prevention tools for quick quitting are the same for quiet quitting and are rooted in having better engagement with employees.
“Companies will need to continue to be competitive when it comes to things like salary and benefits — and perhaps more accommodating when it comes to employees’ preferences for things like hybrid and flexible work — in order to attract and retain talent,” said Borden.
Hannah Yardley, chief people and culture officers at employee recognition and engagement platform Achievers, said it’s important to not focus on reasons for quick quitting, but instead prioritize why people stay in their jobs. Usually those reasons include having a work-life balance, career progression and development, recognition, having a sense of belonging and feeling overall supported.
“Core progression doesn’t happen after you’ve been at a job for a while,” said Yardley. “It happens immediately as part of your onboarding experience and the dialogue you’re having on where the career path could go and the timeframes for it.”
If an employee does end up quitting, Borden suggests having a thorough exit interview to help understand the bigger picture and improve the situation going forward for others. Grimes also suggests having a change in mentality overall when it comes to people leaving organizations.
“There’s always this kind of negative perception of people handing in their notice,” said Grimes. “I think when people get another role elsewhere it should be celebrated. For people to expand their horizons and change, it really is a positive, but a lot of leaders internally don’t see that, which is a challenge.”