A new study says it can be easier to keep talented people than to replace them with others, even if it means having to do something that is not easy.
The report, released Wednesday by the University of Michigan’s Institute for the Study of the Economy, was commissioned by a nonprofit group focused on creating more and better work environments for workers.
It found that a number of industries have made significant gains in retaining their talented workforce, but it is not clear if those gains have been enough to keep them.
“This is an issue that needs to be addressed, and this is the report that provides a roadmap to help companies move forward on this,” said Mark Weisman, a senior policy fellow at the institute and a former chief economist at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
“The data suggests that there are many areas that employers should be looking at to help keep talented workers and attract and retain the talent that is needed to support them in the work place,” Weisman said.
The institute’s report analyzed data from nearly 100 industries and found that almost two-thirds of companies said they had done something to reduce turnover, from hiring more people to hiring people who had the skills needed to work in a new role.
The report also found that firms are trying to get more people in the workforce, while keeping more people from leaving.
Employers are making progress in reducing turnover in the U.S., with a slight drop in the unemployment rate last year, Weisman noted.
But he said the country needs to do more to attract and keep talented talent.
Weisman said the findings are consistent with findings from other studies.
“We are going to see a continued increase in retention, but we are also going to have to do a better job of getting people who are going out and looking for work and bringing those people back,” Weeman said.
In the past five years, the percentage of employees who said they could see themselves staying at the company increased from 20 percent to 27 percent, according to the institute’s analysis.
The percentage of people who said their company had created an environment where they could stay for a while or for the foreseeable future declined from 16 percent to 11 percent.
The firm, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and has received funding from the Department of Labor, also found it is harder to keep the talent of people leaving.
Nearly half of those who have left have had a turnover of more than one month in the past three years, and about 40 percent have had turnover of five months or more, the study found.
Weisman’s report did not include data on whether a person was fired from the company or whether the company had a formal policy prohibiting people from reporting any of their past employment to a third party.
It also found a number, like the 10 percent of people with less than two years of experience, that were able to stay because they were able or willing to keep working there, Weeman noted.
The number of people in high-demand jobs is also falling.
About 40 percent of employees were able get a job that required at least a high school education or a four-year college degree, the institute found.
In terms of what is needed for companies to continue attracting and retaining talent, Weiskman said the answer is to keep people in their positions longer.
“If we have an environment in which people are looking for jobs, then they are going be looking for longer and longer, and you can’t just hire the same people over and over again,” Weiskmann said.
“I think we have to make sure that the companies that are looking to hire and retain talent are not simply replacing the talent.”
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