Coronavirus (COVID-19), Recruiting, Talent

Employers Gain Upper Hand: Report Shows Large Reductions in Resignations

Understanding the effects from the first few months of the pandemic can be valuable in helping understand what will happen next. A recent report sought to understand turnover and hiring trends for the month of May.

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The report, called “COVID-19 Employee Turnover and Hiring Trends for May 2020,” was created by Visier and relies on data from over 6 million employee records from more than 70 large companies.

The State of Turnover

Data from the second week of May compared with the second week of April show a 53% reduction in overall turnover, including both voluntary and involuntary turnover.

Involuntary Turnover

Also known as terminations, involuntary turnover saw a steep hike starting at the beginning of April. In fact, it was 91% higher than the same time last year. However, once that initial wave of layoffs and terminations took place, organizations actually displayed a considerably lower likelihood of laying off additional staff, with a consistently lower number of involuntary turnover than in 2019. This suggests that organizations retained their most critical staff after initial layoffs and those staff continue to be valuable.

Voluntary Turnover

As might be expected, employees who kept their jobs were more reticent to give them up. The report shows that before mid-March, when the pandemic swept the states, resignation rates were actually up over last year by 23%. Immediately after lockdown began, a drastic trend downward in voluntary turnover occurred. Most of April saw about a 55% reduction in resignations over last year. By the time May rolled around, organizations saw a 75% lower rate of resignations compared with last year.

Employers should understand they have the upper hand when it comes to retention due to the coronavirus. Very few people want to enter a job market during such uncertainty.

Hiring Has Slowed, Not Stopped

Current unemployment rates may be staggering, but this report shows that some organizations are still hiring, albeit at a slower rate. Since the second week of April, hiring has reduced by 40% compared with the beginning of May 2019. However, the rate has not dropped to zero, suggesting there is still an active job market in the United States. An increase in candidates combined with reduced hiring suggests that the balance of power has tipped toward employers. Now is the time to find your ideal candidates, perhaps even at a premium.

Not All Industries the Same

Not all industries are behaving the same. There were much higher rates of involuntary turnover in the high-technology industry in early April that continues through May compared with the same time last year and compared with other industries. It can be difficult to parse what this means, but the data suggest that talent is still moving around within the high-tech industry.

For a complete set of data, check out the report here.