Are Your Employees Staying, or Leaving the Organization? Trends in Employee Turnover

Turnover rates have remained fairly steady over the past few years. However, with the stronger economy, are more employees leaving their current employers than in years past? MSEC recently published its 2016 Personnel Pulse Survey, which tracks HR metrics such as turnover, tenure, job absence rates, compensation expense, and cost of benefits.

It is important for employers to look at benchmark turnover trends within their industry and geographic area. In our 2016 survey, Arizona and Utah employers reported higher 2015 versus 2014 All Employees turnover rates than Colorado and Wyoming survey respondents. The trend of higher turnover rates in 2015 versus 2014 is the same for the U.S. and the West region of the country. Following is a chart showing the turnover rate for All Employees for the last five years.

2015 Average Percent Turnover

The turnover rates in the above chart for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming are from MSEC’s Personnel Pulse Surveys, unless noted otherwise. The West region and U.S. figures are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Report, published March 17, 2016.

* Utah data from 2011-2014 are from the Employers Council’s Quarterly Turnover Surveys.

** The West region includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Does the average age of the workforce in the organization affect turnover rates? In our 2016 Personnel Pulse Survey, we found that employers with an average workforce age between 25 and 35 years had a higher turnover rate than employers whose workforces had a different average age. The chart on the following page shows that organizations with an average workforce age of 25 to 35 years reported a 32.4 percent turnover rate in 2015. This turnover rate is significantly higher versus other average workforce ages as shown in the graph below. Employers with an average workforce age between 25 and 35 years might want to focus on organizational programs/policies designed specifically for that age demographic to reduce turnover.

2015 Average Percent Turnover by Average Age of Workforce

Sometimes turnover can be a positive outcome for an employer if the employee who left the organization was a poor performer. We call this “desirable” turnover. According to survey results, the majority of turnovers in 2015 in each geographic area were “neutral,” except for Arizona where the majority of the turnover was “desirable” (non-regrettable). However, in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming employers are reporting “undesirable” turnover rates around 25 percent. Employers might want to consider focusing efforts on reducing the “undesirable” turnovers in their organization to retain those high-performing and/or key employees in the organization.

2015 Average Percent Turnover by type of turnover

What can organizations do to reduce turnover, especially undesirable (regrettable) turnover? Understanding turnover trends allows employers to focus attention on hiring the right people for the job, onboarding new employees, and retaining high performers to avoid “undesirable” turnover. If turnover is high in your organization—don’t worry! You can begin to implement or enhance policies/programs to reduce unwanted turnover and create a workplace where people want to stay. For more detailed information from the 2016 Personnel Pulse Survey, please visit our website at to view survey results by geographic area, organization employment size, and industry type. For Utah Grandfathered members interested in purchasing a copy of the survey, please contact