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One in Four Workers Will Quit This Year

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It Gest Worse: One in Three Workers Will Voluntarily Quit Their Jobs Each Year by 2020.

In the wake of consistent economic growth, employees have seized available opportunities resulting in a surge of voluntary turnover that’s challenging employers – and it is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Looking ahead, we predict that 42 million employees will voluntarily quit their jobs in 2018. This means that 28.6%, or more than one in four employees, will leave their jobs this year to go to work somewhere else. There is an 11% increase over last year, when 38 million employees quit (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). If this trend continues, by 2020 over 48 million employees, or one in three workers, will quit their jobs.

At the same time, involuntary turnover will continue declining as employers try to keep available workers to meet the demands of their businesses. Involuntary turnover rates are expected to drop by 25% over the next two years as economic growth is likely to reduce the need for employee layoffs. A worker shortage is likely to force employers to keep employees they may otherwise have let go, and the challenge to fill open positions will intensify.

Increases in voluntary turnover will continue to affect the ability of organizations to sustain profits and grow revenues. The cost of turnover, voluntary or involuntary, is estimated at one-third of a worker’s salary (Sears, Nelms, & Mahan, 2017). When applied to one-fourth of a workforce, the cost of turnover is staggering.

Moreover, while turnover of any kind has a negative impact on organizational performance, and should be controlled, voluntary turnover is more detrimental to organizational performance than involuntary turnover (Park & Shaw, 2013). Leaders should look closely at all turnover to improve organizational performance – especially voluntary turnover.

Workers who have not already quit are predicted to evaluate their opportunities. With a healthy economy, robust confidence, an abundance of jobs and stiff competition, workers are expected to be increasingly selective about where they work and will voluntarily change jobs when a better opportunity is present.


  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018, March 16). Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Highlights January 2018. Retrieved March 2018, from Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey

  2. Sears, L. E., Nelms, D. A., & Mahan, T. F. (2017). 2017 Retention report: Trends, reasons & recommendations.

  3. Park, T.-Y., & Shaw, J. D. (2013). Turnover rates and organizational performance: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(2), 268-309.

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