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Why Employees Quit Jobs Right After They've Started

Even more employees leave before the end of their first year.
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Forty percent of employees who left their jobs voluntarily in 2013 did so within six months of starting in the position, according to data recorded and processed by the work-force insights arm of credit-reporting agency Equifax.

And another 16 percent of all employees who left on their own choosing did so within 12 months, meaning more than half of voluntary turnover happens within a year of new hires' start dates.

Equifax Workforce Solutions director of product Kristen Lewis tells Inc. that many employees approach new jobs with the belief that "they can find something else if it's not a great fit right away."

The rate at which employees left inside of six months was about twice as high for employees paid hourly than those who pocket a salary.

However, Lewis says, that doesn't necessarily mean finance was a driving factor of employee movement. Only a slight majority of employees who left voluntarily did so for greater pay, with 44 percent staying even or taking a pay cut to switch positions. "It supports the concept that culture and opportunity play a big role," Lewis says.

A cut in hours for hourly employees, meanwhile, makes a big difference in when they'll eye the door. Lewis said Equifax's data shows that for every four hours cut from an employee's schedule, there's a corresponding 5 percent jump in the likelihood he or she will take a new gig.

The idea that fast voluntary turnover--that is, turnover after less than a year on the job--is higher for hourly employees might call to mind transient industries such as retail and restaurant work, the kind of job that's dominated by hourly work. And indeed, more than 64 percent of new hires in retail and about 66 percent of those in leisure left in that time frame.

Likewise, the business services industry--largely composed of temporary staffing--sees 65.7 percent of new employees move on within a year.

However, even though the numbers are lower, they still might surprise you in other, more stable industries.

More than half of voluntary turnover in the transportation industry happened in less than a year. In the information industry, that number is about 43 percent. In financial services, 37.5 percent. In health care, nearly 37 percent.

And across all industries, employees are more likely to leave voluntarily inside of their first six months than in months six through 12.

Voluntary turnover in general was up 3.5 percent in 2013, according to Equifax. The Department of Labor has also seen a recent increase in the "quit" rate, according to the The Wall Street Journal.

Voluntary turnover is generally lauded as a positive sign for the economy, indicating that enough jobs are out there to allow employees to hop around the market. And many companies embrace the idea of being net exporters of talents, as a positive sign of their ability to nurture talent.

But even with those optimistic qualifiers, you would probably like to get at least a little bit more than a year out of your new hires.

So you might want to check out Inc. columnist and HR expert Suzanne Lucas's pointers for keeping turnover low.




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