Employment Law Report

Wall Street Journal Reports Employers Having Difficulty Retaining Overqualified Workers

By Edwin S. Hopson

According to a November 15, 2010, article in The Wall Street Journal, employers who hired “top talent on the cheap in the depth of the recession should start worrying about defections….” 

Quoting Russ Riendeau, senior partner of Barrington, Ill., recruitment firm East Wing Group Inc., “[l]ast year, the focus was getting a job, period. Now those who had no choice before are regretting it.”  That’s because many employers that hired during the recession were able to obtain top talent at bargain prices.  Now that the economy is starting to turn around, “those overqualified hires become more frustrated—some of them are considering greener pastures.”

Just last week, it was noted, Google announced that it was giving all its employees a 10% raise, perhaps in an effort to stave off turnover caused by an improving job market.

However, the article’s author also noted that “[o]verall, turnover remains low but is inching up. When adjusted for seasonality, the percentage of total employees who voluntarily quit their jobs in September was 1.6%, up from 1.3% in September last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

 The Wall Street Journal noted that “those low rates mask a risk of future defections, and that many companies may be caught off guard when the labor market improves more robustly.”

The recruiter cited above also stated that “about one in five candidates who call him now say that they are trying to get back to their previous salary after having been in their current job for a year or less. Last year, fewer than one in 10 candidates said that.”

Another recruiter quoted, Nick Corcodilos, who also publishes jobs advice site AsktheHeadhunter.com, stated that over the last six months he had “seen a ‘significant increase’ in chatter among headhunters on his site about overqualified hires looking to improve their situations.”

Finally, Sayed Sadjady, a principal at New York-based consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, was quoted as saying that “some of their clients have become concerned about overqualified hires looking to move to higher-paid positions.”

The full article can be found at: