Americans Should Quit Their Jobs More Often

Probably true for other countries as well:

A few excerpts:

Although the quit rate normally varies with the state of the labor market, rising when it is tighter and there are lots of jobs around, the overall trend has been lower since the 1980s. The reasons are not well understood. Some economists suspect it is due to the growing power of employers or maybe the increasing prevalence of non-compete agreements. But these can’t explain why job switching has fallen across all skill and income levels, and even in industries with competitive labor markets. Maybe the reason has to do with how employer-provided benefits have become a bigger part of overall compensation. Economists have speculated that the lack of job changes is a big reason why wages haven’t gone up much since the 1980s.

The pandemic and the work-from-home environment it spawned also led many economists to speculate that workers would become better adapted to technology, more efficient and strike a healthier balance between work and life . This, in turn, would leave them more mobile. A Microsoft Corp. workplace trends survey found that 40% of Americans are considering leaving their jobs this year. And many are doing just that, with 2.5% of the employed quitting their jobs in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey. Although that’s down from the record 2.8% in April, it’s still higher than any other point since at least before 2001. Plus, consider that the quit rate was only 2.3% in 2019 when unemployment was just 3.6%, compared with 5.8% this May.

Economists estimate that industries where workers switch jobs more often offer higher pay. To many economists, the fact that job switching had become less common contributed to more inequality and less economic mobility.

Americans probably would quit their jobs more often if they were saving more for just such an emergency. But, a lot of Americans don’t/can’t save and cannot afford to quit their jobs, at least without another job (paying more, hopefully) lined up.
Also, looking for a job is work that does not get paid a wage, nor overtime. It is an investment that does not always produce dividends. You need available time to invest in looking for a new job (annoying recruiters notwithstanding).

The fact that health insurance is tied to employment for most people (even if indirectly, meaning having to pay for it) discourages people from quitting.


She doesn’t mean quitting w/o an alternative job in line, jeez.

It’s that people don’t even look…or that they won’t switch after getting an offer elsewhere.

I swear I have been tearing out my hair trying to get some people to switch to different jobs.

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this is definitely true. people who have great health benefits may not want lesser ones. some people would maybe have to buy on the exchange (if they went from company job to self employed) and have fear of that.

one category of hangup might be if you know your family has high costs, would you take a job with a small company that you know self funds? had a friend getting wooed to another friends smallish company. didn’t want to bring the family’s $500K+ annual health costs to the smallish place bc there weren’t enough employees to spread that cost around without it making an impact.

i have also seen other benefits keep people in ruts. public school teachers (and perhaps other public entity jobs) might benefit from a change of scenery - but in my state they lose tenure for a year when switching. So if they go somewhere and it doesn’t go great, they are untethered. Or they lose some accumulated benefit like sick time bank (which is only so valuable an asset if not used for being actually sick).

I’m surprised. I thought kids these days loved job hopping.

:checks salary bands for my credentials/experience:

:sees I’m well below average despite high COL area:

:exhausted from working 50-60 hour weeks for the past couple months:


Yes, you’re one of the people I have in mind.


My last job hop I significantly reduced my hours worked while upping my compensation. I was hesitant because I really liked the people I worked with. It was a nice breath of fresh air from the work-stress point of view on the change, even if the new place is more “corporatey” than the old.

And I get paid more. And work less. Did I mention those?

No harm in at least looking, especially if your answer to “would it be nice to have an extra $2K+ a month”? is a yes.

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The health care benefits where I work are worth an additional 10-13% of my salary in compensation (non-taxed to me) due to the low OOP max (lower than annual HSA contribution limits) and incredibly low premiums (less than $1500 a year for the whole family). It’s a really strong incentive to stay, although it would be less strong if my spouse didn’t cost six figures annually in medication. I’ve looked at benefits elsewhere and they’re depressing.

There’s also the concern about switching mid-year where we’ve met our OOP max once and then would meet a new higher one again at the next job before the start of a new year, and then hey, time to start over on your OOP max come Jan 1.

A lot of jobs in the US start you with shitty vacation time, and build up over time. That’s another disincentive to job hopping.


If you somehow work for a company with a traditional pension plan, you’ll either never become vested in it, or you’ll never accumulate a decent benefit, even if you work for 30 years at 5 different companies and accrue a benefit for all of that time period.

And if you only have a 401k, you’ll lose out on vesting of employer matches if you’re always moving around.

Retirement becomes an even bigger burden, basically. Hopefully it’s worth it by an increase in pay and higher levels of savings.

All of those (healthcare, pension, vesting, bonuses, vacation days, relocation, etc.) would already have been considered when you’re making a move…otherwise you wouldn’t move.

Conclusion: you should still look and apply, and move when it makes sense financially (everything considered, not just base + bonus). Generally, it does make sense to move. Companies love to f**k tenured people over with shit salaries.


I dunno, I’ve talked with a couple younger actuaries who didn’t realize they’d lose their pension and employer 401k contributions when leaving after a few years.

When I worked at TIAA, it had a 5-year vesting period on its main, non-contributory DC plan.

Yes, there was a noticeable jump in turnover at the 5-year tenure mark.

Yes, I left a few months after I vested.

I have also rolled over 401(k)s from later jobs back into my TIAA 401(k). (Now going to look…whoa! I didn’t realize how big it had gotten. I need to look at rebalancing)

Maximum vesting periods for DC plans are 3 year if it is cliff vesting (0 to 100% all at once) or 6 years if it is graded. And I think 3-year cliff is most common. That leaves plenty of opportunity to job hop.

6 year grading at two of my three employers. 3 year cliff on the retirement plan, since it’s CB.

Regardless, most of the young actuarials here evidently aren’t thinking about their retirement and don’t know the basics about what benefits they even have, let alone their vesting schedules. I talked a former colleague into asking for a higher sign on bonus when I showed her the math of what she was giving up in retirement benefits by leaving before 3 years.

At past employers, I was a pension actuary. People obviously gave this more thought. I’m at a carrier now. My coworkers weren’t even aware they had a DB plan at all, but they’re in their mid-twenties so maybe that’s common?

I don’t think it’s common to have a pension in the first place nowadays.

Certainly. But if you did have one, don’t you think you’d know about it?

Given there’s a great likelihood of the plam being terminated well before you accrue a substantial benefit…mark it zero, bro.

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