Commentary

Commentary

New College Hires Don't Last More Than a Year: Survey

by Jaime S. Fall
Vice President, Workforce and Talent Sustainability
HR Policy Foundation

On October 24, 2014, CNBC's Mark Koba published a story, "New College Hires Don't Last More Than a Year: Survey," saying a survey of employers shows, based on experiences, 77 percent of businesses expect a recent graduate hire to stay less than a year.  The survey, which is hardly a scientific study, simply asked 115 Express Employment Professionals at franchises in the U.S., how long employers observed their new hires staying on the job.  Only 23 percent said they expected a recent graduate to stay in the job for more than a year — a three-point decline from 2013.  Regardless of the statistical validity of the survey, its findings raise some important points for Millennials and employers alike.

First of all, turnover is a serious and costly problem for employers.  Anything near a 77 percent turnover rate would indicate employers still haven't found ways to keep Millennials engaged in their jobs.  Many employers realize their positions, career progression opportunities, and pay and benefit structures were all designed at a time when workers who would join a company and stay for the duration of their career.  That realization, combined with their desire to attract and keep Millennials, has led some employers to begin to carefully examine their jobs and benefits to find ways to be more accommodating to Millennials who may not want to stick around for very long.

On the other hand, it is important to note that Millennials who change jobs within their first year, may be placing themselves at a significant competitive disadvantage when they are applying for future jobs.  Resumes that show job durations of less than a couple of years, can raise important questions in the minds of employers about an individual and their level of commitment to their job and long term career:

  • Did they quit or did they get fired?  And if they got fired, why?
  • Did they meet with their supervisor if they were unhappy or did they just quit?
  • How long did they try to make their position a positive experience?
  • Did they make recommendations on how to improve the job and/or the workplace?
  • Were they having difficulty getting along with their colleagues?
  • Does the person have a career plan and know what they want?
There is no doubt there are bad places to work.  No one should stay in a job where they are mistreated or their rights are violated.  However, if someone leaves their job in less than two years, they need to be able to give a compelling reason why, or they may be doing themselves a real disservice.  Likewise, if 77 percent of all employers really believe Millennials will leave within the first year, the Millennial generation as a whole may continue to struggle for some time to get their careers off the ground.