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The ‘Big Stay’ Has Arrived, But Its Future is Uncertain

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The Great Reshuffle: What Comes Next?

Signs of a Potential Labor Market Shift

Naturally, the Great Reshuffle was itself a unique moment and isn’t guaranteed to reoccur the same way. But just as no one could predict all the changes wrought by the pandemic, it’s very difficult to predict how the global labor market will change over the next few years.

Still, there are a few hints that attrition rates may reverse course again in the near term to medium term, particularly in the U.S.

Microsoft’s latest Work Trends Index report, done in collaboration with LinkedIn, found that 46% of professionals around the world say they’re considering quitting in the year ahead. The report also analyzed U.S. LinkedIn data to reveal a recent 14% increase in job applications per role from November 2023 to March 2024.

The U.S. labor market continues to stabilize, according to Karin Kimbrough, LinkedIn’s chief economist. And while the year-over-year change in job transitions is still negative, it does seem to be ticking back up to a higher rate of change over the last several months. Of course, people can only change jobs when there are jobs available, so the state of the economy will likely dictate if and when things turn around.

Final Thoughts on Preparing for the Future

No one can perfectly predict the future, but you can be prepared. If and when things turn around, you don’t want to find yourself scrambling just to keep pace with competitors.

“If history repeats itself, this period of low attrition will be followed by a period of high attrition,” writes Daniel Shapero, LinkedIn’s chief operating officer. “Many companies, particularly in technology, are at risk of being caught flat-footed when attrition spikes. . . . Even if you’re not expecting to grow your employee base, backfilling departures often constitutes the bulk of corporate hiring.”

In his conclusion, Daniel notes: “It’s during these moments of reacceleration that those who are prepared win market share. By taking some simple steps now, you can put yourself in a stronger position to retain and attract the right people for the inevitable next reshuffling of talent.”

Methodology:

Attrition rate was calculated as the sum of last 12-month (L12M) departures divided by average headcount in the L12M (that is, the headcount at the beginning of the given year plus the headcount at the end of the given year divided by two) for full-time employees. We excluded companies with headcount of less than 15 or attrition rates of over 50% (small companies).

For year-over-year comparisons, the time period was April 2023 – March 2024 for current year attrition and April 2022 – March 2023 for prior year attrition. Note: Attrition rates rely on LinkedIn members actively updating their profiles and, as such, may vary based on their individual behaviors.

For indexing attrition rates against the low point prior to the Great Reshuffle, we pulled monthly attrition rates in the last 45 months. We then indexed attrition against the 12-month rolling data from April 2021, the lowest attrition rates dipped before rising over the period of the Great Reshuffle. Headcount and departures were calculated on a rolling 12-month basis.

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