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Resignations rise for sixth year in a row

High turnover rates continue to rock the labour market, especially in manufacturing and production

Employee resignations have risen for the sixth year in a row, with 19% of employees resigning in 2017, according to XpertHR.

Its report looking at labour turnover statistics from 398 organisations found that the resignation rate has increased steadily since 2012, when it stood at 10.6%.

The biggest change was in manufacturing and production, where the average voluntary resignation rate increased from 11.7% in 2016 to 18.9% in 2017, and the median from 10.5% to 14.3%. Looking at total labour turnover – which includes retirements and dismissals as well as resignations – across all sectors, the figures have risen from an average of 17.4% to 21.5%, and a median of 15% to 19.2% in the same period.

The report also included data on voluntary resignation rates and total labour turnover rates for employees with less than 12 months' service. On average 10.9% of new starters resigned before completing 12 months, while an average of 12.7% either left voluntarily or were dismissed.

The study warned that employers would feel the squeeze of a tighter labour market, with the employment rate standing at 75.7%, its highest since comparable records began in 1971. This provides challenges for employers to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of their recruitment procedures, while also ensuring they focus on retention and productivity.

XpertHR senior HR practice editor Noelle Murphy said that employers must take note of high turnover rates as these could point to wider labour issues.

“Employers should pay special attention to labour turnover for new starters with less than 12 months' service as consistently high levels of turnover can be a strong indication of issues in the recruitment and selection processes as well as the onboarding exercises in place,” she said.

High turnover rates among new starters could also create further problems for employee engagement, Murphy added.

“There is also a higher cost implication for employers with ongoing churn among new starters, more so than for those with longer service. Alongside resources, consistent levels of turnover among new starters will have a negative ripple effect on engagement among all employees,” she said.