US feels skills squeeze as turnover levels rise

American HR professionals are becoming increasingly anxious about staff turnover, with many large organisations losing a quarter of their employees each year.

The Society of Human Resource Management said 84 per cent of its members are worried about staff turnover – up 10 per cent on a similar survey three years ago.

The average turnover in the US has now reached 17 per cent a year. Employers with more than 5,000 staff are experiencing turnover rates of 25 per cent.

“Anyone who has tried to hire skilled workers lately knows the squeeze the labour market is putting on employers,” said SHRM president Michael Losey.

The survey found 41 per cent of HR professionals said voluntary resignations have risen at their organisations since 1997.

Again, it is larger employers who are particularly feeling the effects of the tight labour market.

Fifty per cent of respondents said turnover has risen, compared with 39 per cent in organisations employing less than 1,000 employees.

The most common reason for leaving is the pursuit of career opportunities and better pay packages. Poor management is also a factor, with 21 per cent of departing staff identifying it as the reason for their decision.

The most effective tactics for encouraging people to stay, according to the survey, are paying competitive salaries and healthcare benefits.

The survey’s findings come after Andersen Consulting announced earlier this year it had set up an e-unit scheme as part of a plan to recruit 3,000 extra staff. Under the scheme, employees can receive stock from its venture capital arm AC Ventures.

The initiative is aimed at both attracting high-calibre new recruits and retaining existing staff tempted by dotcom start-ups.

www.shrm.org

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