My Job Has a High Employee Turnover: What Does It Mean?

Employee turnover can mean several quite different things in a job. If you're in a job which has high turnover of staff, you may need to check out the reasons for the turnover.

High turnover jobs basics

The jobs which have the highest turnovers of all have turnovers based on their demographics, not on the jobs themselves.

Fast food jobs: The classic high turnover jobs. Turnover is based more on the average age of the staff, most of whom are doing those jobs as fillers during college or late high school. This demographic leaves and spreads throughout the workforce.

Unskilled jobs: A fairly high percentage of people in unskilled work only take those jobs because they can't get anything else. They move as soon as they can, hence the high turnover rate.

Low paid jobs generally: These jobs have almost no staff retention ability. The entire workforce, including the lower managers, move regularly.

Customer service and phone center jobs: Staff may move up in these areas quite rapidly. Many staff, however, also drop out because they don't like the work environment, and move into less "KPI" jobs.

Sales: The opposite effect to customer service. Sales people naturally move on. They go looking for jobs like they look for sales. The high turnover is their doing, and the payment of retainers is about the only thing that keeps them.

Retail: Some retail environments encourage high turnover. Standards of workplace and management are often factors in movement of retail staff. In better quality establishments turnover is much lower.

Public sector: The public sector turnover is usually based on career options. A reasonable percentage of the public sector moves into the private sector annually.

What you can achieve in a job with high turnover

You may be surprised to hear that a job with high turnover can be a springboard to a good career.

The high turnover creates a natural default for employers: They must rely on the experienced remaining staff to train the newcomers, and do the more difficult jobs. The low retention rates mean that experience is at a very high premium. Promotion can be rapid. You can become a supervisor quite quickly.  

However- To do well in this sort of environment you must be an area of employment to which you're well suited, and where sticking to your job is practical. Some high turnover jobs are hard going, like the phone center jobs. Others are financially tough, like the unskilled work. Find a job with high turnover where the environment doesn't bother you or cause you undue stress.  

Having achieved supervisor level, you can now start doing some applied career building. This is where you can add to your resume very effectively, using both stats and numbers of staff in supervision and training as references to your abilities. Your next job will be a move upward from that position.

If you're at an early stage of your career, these jobs can be very useful indeed.  This experience, and the credentials that come with it, will set you on track for a good career, with some supervisory experience as well. You'll be able to use your resume to prove you can handle hard work and responsibility.