People are quitting their jobs in droves this year — and getting record-setting pay boosts because of it

Strelka Institute/Flickr/Attribution LicenceJob switchers are earning a lot more money than those who stay put.


The tight labour market has stressed out fast food managers, trucking executives, and other managers. But it’s a boon for other working Americans who want a pay raise, according to a Wall Street Journal article published on July 4.

With 6.7 million job openings, compared to the record low of 2.4 million in July 2009, workers are increasingly able to change jobs that provide them better salaries.

From January to May 2018, Americans who switched jobs enjoyed 48% larger annual salary boosts than those who didn’t move jobs, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Job switchers in 2018 have reported median pay increases by 4%, compared to median increase of 2% by the job stayers.

At a 1.3 percentage point difference, it’s the largest gap between switchers and stayers seen since 2000, a Business Insider analysis of the Fed data found.

While a 4% boost may not seem significant, small pay increases over time can build up, as Business Insider’s Lauren Lyons Cole reported last year.

Job switcher vs stayer wage growthFederal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Andy Kiersz/Business Insider

Those in their 20s and 30s should be especially interested in securing income gains. A typical worker’s salary steadily increases until their mid-30s, then plateaus until retirement, as Business Insider’s Andy Kiersz found.

And quitters are also becoming more common. In May, more than one in seven jobless Americans were voluntarily unemployed, the Journal reported. That’s the highest share of voluntary unemployment, or those who quit one position to seek another, America has seen in more than 17 years, wrote Journal reporters David Harrison and Eric Morath.

It’s yet another sign of a good economy, Steven Davis, an economist at the University of Chicago, told the Journal. Distressed after the Great Recession, many Americans remained inclined to stay at their jobs, but this data shows a reemerging interest in risk-taking.

“A husband and wife can easily quit their jobs and both find good opportunities in jobs they want, where they want to live,” Davis told the Journal.

Read the full Wall Street Journal article here ยป

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