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Turnover Rates are Increasing. What Can Employers Do to Overcome this Trend?


Competing for top talent continues to be one of the biggest challenges employers large and small need to overcome.

And while a lot of the focus in this area revolves around recruiting new talent, employee retention is another critical area of talent management where employers face difficulties.

Many employers have turned to passive job candidates, those who are currently employed and are not actively seeking new opportunities, to fill their talent needs. When these hires are made, they are being taken from their current company.

A recent survey from and Compdata showed that turnover rates in the United States are increasing, and this trend is likely to continue moving forward.


The survey was taken by almost 25,000 organizations in the U.S., ranging in size from less than 100 employees to more than 5,000.

It’s important to note that the results include data around two different types of turnover:

  • Total turnover: all separations from a company, including terminations
  • Voluntary turnover: separations that aren’t initiated by an employer

In 2018, the total workplace turnover in the U.S. was 19.3%Voluntary turnover came in at 14.2%.

While the survey doesn’t provide trends in voluntary turnover data, it does provide data for total turnover going back to 2014:

  • 2014: 15.7%
  • 2015: 16.7%
  • 2016: 17.8%
  • 2017: 18.5%
  • 2018: 19.3%

These numbers show that employee turnover has steadily become a bigger challenge for employers at the same time recruiting has grown more difficult.

And even though voluntary turnover trend data isn’t available in the survey, it wouldn’t be surprising if these percentages have continuously increased over the same time. This would be an even more concerning trend for employers of all sizes.


With turnover numbers rising each year, employers need to identify and implement strategies that not only help bring in new talent but also keep current employees happy and engaged.

Kent Plunkett, CEO of, had this to say about employee turnover: “Since 2014, we have seen workplace turnover steadily increase, with a 22.9% increase over the past five years. In today’s modern war for talent, the number of available jobs outnumber the people searching for work and, because of this, companies must to do everything in their power to attract, engage and retain top talent. Most studies report that employees leave their current jobs for better-paying positions, and one of the best ways to combat turnover is to ensure that pay in your organization is both externally competitive and internally equitable.”

While improving total compensation, which included employee benefits, might not be too difficult for larger employers, small businesses aren’t as fortunate. Many lack the resources necessary to overhaul their benefit packages in order to remain competitive to meet employee and job seeker expectations today.

This is where working with your benefits broker and exploring potential outsourcing solutions, such as a professional employer organization (PEO), can assist small business owners in enhancing their employee benefits offerings.

Additionally, brokers who have a small business client that is looking to improve their benefits can explore a broker-only PEO solution to meet the needs of the client while also establishing a valuable partnership that can help grow their business.


With competition for talent growing at a rapid pace, employers need to take notice of workforce related trends. Failing to do so could not only jeopardize recruiting efforts, but could also result in losing current, top-performing employees to other organizations.

Recruiting and retention will only continue to grow more challenging in the years ahead, but by continuously monitoring current strategies and keeping up with employee/job seeker expectations, employers of all sizes can differentiate themselves in this competitive market!

Want to learn more about PEOs? Check out our eBook, How Well Do You Know PEO? This eBook provides an overview of the PEO industry as well as helpful information for brokers and employers!

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