Job Attrition

Job attrition is the process of shedding jobs and not replacing staff. Positions are abolished after the employee leaves. This can have a lot of ramifications for people remaining in the workplace as the jobs are shed. Some job attrition situations create opportunities, some create problems.

Job attrition is really downsizing by other means, and it doesn't always work well. The employer figures out a staff turnover rate, who's about to retire, and determines a working figure for payroll expenses. This results in a lower payroll budget, and as an employment policy, it means big changes in the workplace.

What job attrition means in the workplace

For job seekers and those currently with jobs, there are several things about job attrition you need to know so you can deal with it when you encounter it.

For job seekers:

If you find out that an employer has a job attrition policy, you might want to forget that employer. Even if they do advertise jobs, they'll be few, and you'll find in the section for employees that there are a few positives in getting these jobs.

For employees:

The result of job attrition is that the work from the lost jobs is supposed to get spread throughout the sections and departments. You can find yourself with a lot of new work. This has an upside and a downside, and you need to know where the risks and opportunities are.

The other problem is that in job attrition scenarios, the incentive of promotion is also often removed. The employer has effectively called a freeze on hiring and promotions, based on the budget. That can create a very negative working environment, and anti career track. It's worth considering your career options first in these cases, before job situations. You need to know where you're going and whether or not this employer can take you there.

The downside

In practice, what happens can be a very uneven distribution of labor with no extra pay. It's common to lose some employees in positions the employer doesn't really want to lose. This is where the wheels fall off, and you can find yourself doing unpaid work until the job(s) are filled again.

The job attrition process has one serious downside devolving from that situation. You're not getting paid any more, and the working environment becomes pressurized. At this stage you're doing work that is worth a lot more than you're being paid. You may be able to get jobs with a lot less work that pay as well or better.

The upside

There is a real upside to this situation, though, with career advantages and job opportunities. If people in higher paid jobs above you leave, you can acquire valuable skills, even if you're not getting paid for them. These skills are tickets to promotions and better jobs later. These can be opportunities you wouldn't get otherwise. Thanks to the no hiring approach, you're the person in the best place to benefit from the situation.