Friday, June 25, 2021

Are chemists quitting their jobs more?

Via the New York Times, quits are on the rise in the broader economy: 
At some point early this year, Justin Hoffman concluded that he was being underpaid.

The marketing director at an orthopedic practice in Findlay, Ohio, Mr. Hoffman was making $42,000 a year — about $13,000 less, by his count, than people were making in similar jobs elsewhere.

But when he asked for a raise in March, he was given only a small bump in pay. “That was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he said.

So after some careful thinking, Mr. Hoffman, 28, did what he had long ached to do: He quit. His last day was June 4.

Mr. Hoffman is among millions of workers who have voluntarily left their jobs recently, one of the most striking elements of the newly blazing-hot job market. According to the Labor Department, nearly four million people quit their jobs in April, the most on record, pushing the rate to 2.7 percent of those employed.

...The rate was particularly high in the leisure and hospitality industry, where competition for workers has been especially fierce. But the number of those quitting registered across the board.

Economists believe that one reason more workers are quitting is simply a backlog: By some estimates, more than five million fewer people quit last year than would otherwise be expected, as some workers, riding out the labor market’s convulsions, stuck with jobs they may have wanted to leave anyway. 

Here's the latest JOLTS data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I don't have any evidence from my personal experience that chemists are quitting their jobs more, either industrial or academic. If you stopped me on the street and said "how is the market for industrial chemists these days?" I would probably say, "it's not bad, definitely better than it was 10 years ago" and leave it at that, but I haven't noticed a lot of quitting/moving to new positions in my social circle. 

Readers, what are you seeing out there? 


  1. We've seen several "voluntary turnovers" leave my company over the past year. It's for the same reason as Mr. Hoffman - this company chronically underpays compared to market value and people know it. Coupled with poor upper management and folks are going to be leaving in droves. My salary is probably $30k under market at the moment and I'm looking for new positions. We've had several analysts leave for ~$30k raises recently as well.

    I don't have data for other places but I have one friend who recently quit and moved jobs (big salary bump) and another who is looking to quit and move to a different company.

    It's basically become general knowledge at this point that remaining loyal to a company is generally a mistake in terms of earning potential.

    1. Yes, I work for a CMO in the US and while we do hire in droves at the BS/MS level, we are bleeding talent for experienced personnel and PhD's. Our pay is lower than competitors', and people are leaving for greener pastures.

      That being said, I work in sales, and it is difficult to find that next position that pays significantly more at my level (which is still early, but sales payscales are a little different).

  2. I can't imagine quitting a job without having a another offer in hand.

    1. I'm always amazed at that too. A relative of mine impulse-quit a job with good pay and benefits, and ended up having to sell her house and move in with her mother. I've had a few long periods of unemployment with both unemployment benefits and a solid reason for leaving (layoff during a lousy economy). I couldn't imagine being unemployed for that long, ineligible for unemployment benefits due to quitting voluntarily, and not having a better answer than "they were a bunch of jerks" if asked about my reason for leaving during an interview.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20