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Economics for HR Geeks: The Quitter's Index

Take a look at this graph.  Let's talk after the jump:

Quitter's index

-White line is the number of people who voluntarily quit their jobs fromm 2001 through 2012.

-Yellow line is the number of people who were fired/laid off in the same time period.

Observations: From 2001through late 2007, people were pretty damn confident in their ability to find a job.  Then in late 2007-08, that line flat-lined.  People wouldn't move, because the economy created a fairly severe external locus of control when it came to their careers.

Now look all the way to the right on the chart.  That white line confidence is starting to come back.

Talent is becoming more open to moving.

Get your ##@# together so you can compete for it.

(h/t to the Big Picture)




suhail tufail

Economics is important for HR expert. It is help them for make there rules. So it is important for HR Geeks.

Mark Guzman

I would imagine most people didn't and still don't quit unless they already have another job. The locus has always been the external control of the economy. It's just that prior to the flatline, there were jobs for people to go to, hence they were able to leave their current position. The recent rise in the white line is probably more of an indication that folks are finding new opportunities; good news that there is some limited hiring again. If it says anything about their confidence, it's in their assessment that the new opportunity has some sort of future equal to or better than their current situation. Which doesn't necessarily say much, given the level of anxiety many employees are feeling right now.


I agree with Mark. I know only a handful of people who quit their jobs without already having another one already lined up (including a written job offer), and the few that did quit "cold turkey" were working in unsustainable situations (abusive boss, unhealthy workloads, too much involuntary overtime, etc) that made it almost impossible to look for another job without breaking away.
I do agree that the chart shows that the economy is improving and that employees have more options, and they are pursuing those options.


This is a great post. I appreciate this kind of discussion. This helpful for all of us.


Hi Mark and Dave -

Thanks for chipping in - for me, the flatline of people willing to move over the last 3 years is more of a candidate confidence index. A lot of great talent has had opportunity to move, but won't - mainly because when things are so crazy with the economy, they've had no confidence that a layoff wouldn't occur 4 months after they got there - and the hiring manager couldn't look them in the eye and tell them with any confidence that it wouldn't...

Thanks - KD

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