Vault's Careers Blog

Career advice and job search strategies for the modern careerist

Will Economic Recovery Cause Employees to Quit?

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There can’t be too many workplaces across the country where the recession hasn’t taken its toll in one way or another: whether it’s layoffs, salary reductions or simply being asked to work harder. In fact, Deloitte’s 2010 Ethics and Workplace Survey underlines this: it found that 86 percent of executives “say their company demands more time and commitment from employees” as a direct result of the recession.

The survey also suggests that workers who feel they have been mistreated over the past couple of years aren’t likely to forgive their employers as the economy recovers: “Nearly half (48%) of employed Americans who plan to look for a new job when the economy is more stable cite a loss of trust in their employer as a result of how business and operational decisions were handled over the last two years as a reason for leaving.”

Additionally, 46 percent of respondents said “lack of transparency in communications” also contributed to their desire to leave, while 40 percent cited “being treated unfairly or unethically by employers.”

All in all, this suggests a lot of bad blood has been generated since the onset of the recession. But while it’s easy to point the finger at employers over something like lack of transparency, it’s important to remember the environment in which they were working. The speed with which the economy turned south in 2008 was staggering, and undoubtedly many decisions were taken with a haste that prevented the kind of transparency and disclosure that most people would feel comfortable with.

That doesn’t let employers off the hook entirely. The Deloitte report is clear in pointing out that executives recognize they could have been more transparent. More damningly, some 39 percent of executives indicated that the “perception of unfair and unethical treatment of employees over the last 18 to 24 months” would contribute to higher voluntary turnover rates as the economy improves.

It’s difficult to know what to make of that last stat. Were employers aware that they were treating employees unfairly and unethically, but doing it anyway? Or are they just aware that it seems like that’s what they were doing? Either way: as far as employees are concerned, perception is reality. And companies seem set to lose talent because of that perception.

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