Recruiting, Talent

Talent Retention Still Vital, Despite Pandemic

Given the global coronavirus pandemic, one would assume this would be the cause for the high turnover across the United States. However, according to a new report, job dissatisfaction is one of the reasons employees left the workforce in 2020.


The “2020 Talent Retention Report,” released by iHire, features survey insights from 2,871 U.S. workers. In its second year, the report suggests that 51.1% of employees have left a role in the past year, as job dissatisfaction rose 7.4% from 2019.

Highlights from iHire’s 2020 Talent Retention Report include:

Despite high unemployment rates, layoffs haven’t been the sole drivers for turnover in 2020. Of the 51.1% of employees who left a job in the past year, 26.2% departed involuntarily (i.e., they were laid off or terminated), and 24.9% departed voluntarily (i.e., they left on their own volition).

Job dissatisfaction climbed year-over-year. 29.6% of respondents said they were “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with their current or most recent jobs, a 7.4% increase from 2019’s survey. Although 18.8% were “very satisfied” with their work, most employees were not as content: 31.9% were “somewhat satisfied” and 19.8% were “neither satisfied nor unsatisfied” with their jobs.

Employees still value traditional benefits and perks. When asked to identify three perks their employers could offer to prevent them from accepting new jobs elsewhere, respondents cited:

  • A raise or bonus (50.0%),
  • A healthier work/life balance (25.7%),
  • Clear growth or advancement opportunities (25.4%), and
  • A better benefits package (22.0%).

These were the same top four elements cited in 2019’s survey. During times of uncertainty and instability, employers should prioritize providing traditional, basic perks (fair pay, flexible scheduling, medical insurance, etc.) while demonstrating a path forward for professional growth, iHire suggests.

Career changers are poised to disrupt retention rates. An unforeseen consequence of COVID-19 is the increased interest in changing careers—61.8% of workers surveyed are considering making a major change in the coming year. Of that group, 28.9% said a change is “very likely.”

However, 35.3% of potential career changers said they are hesitant to make a jump due to financial risks, while 22.8% are simply unsure what type of career to pursue.

“Even amidst the volatile and competitive labor market, employees are seeking greener pastures for a range of reasons—from a lack of workplace flexibility to the desire to change careers completely,” says Steve Flook, iHire’s President and CEO.

“As businesses recover from the impacts from COVID-19, employers must focus not only on recruiting and rebuilding their teams in 2021, but also on retaining them,” Flook adds. “Providing fair compensation and benefits, supporting work/life balances, and demonstrating career advancement opportunities are all excellent places to start.”

A total of 2,871 U.S. jobseekers responded to iHire’s survey in September 2020. Respondents came from iHire’s database of active and passive jobseekers across 56 industries. Participants could select more than one answer for some questions, so percentages add up to a sum greater than 100%. To learn more, or to view the full findings, click here.

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