It is interesting to note that in the United States more people quit their jobs in the last three months than those who lost their jobs. After 15 straight months of time in which layoffs exceeded voluntary departures, it appears that the job market is finally shifting. My guess is that the same phenomenon is being seen in some other countries, notably Brazil, India, Malaysia, and Singapore, whose economies are well into recovery already.
In September 2009, the number of people in the US who voluntarily left their employers fell by 40 percent to 1.72 million, the lowest level since the government began tracking the data in the year 2000. That figure was down from nearly 2.9 million in December 2007, when The Great Recession began.
In a related development, one-quarter of our business community's most promising employees are increasingly disengaged and many are actively seeking new employment opportunities. A recent study on employee engagement, conducted by the Corporate Executive Board's Corporate Leadership Council (CLC), found that 25 percent of the "employer-identified, high-potential employees" plan to leave their current companies within the next year. Compare that figure to the one from 2006 and we have seen an increase of 250 percent.
Moreover, 21 percent of today's employees identified themselves as "highly disengaged". This group has increased nearly 300 percent since 2007. Based on its findings, CLC believes that businesses must place greater emphasis and urgency around leadership succession planning to ensure future success and preserve the bottom line.
As in 2002 to 2003 in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, workers are corporate cocooning. The pressure to increase productivity, while reducing staff, has left today's workers feeling overworked, under-appreciated, and burned-out. Once more people feel confident that they will be able to find other jobs, we will see unprecedented churning in the labor marketplace.
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