Recently, I posted an entry about how stagnant unemployment figures could actually beneficial for MSPs, as companies who are not hiring new employees are more likely to need outside assistance. According to the Boston Globe, there is a counterintuitive trend going on in this mediocre job environment where as many as two in three US employees are testing the hiring market and one in three actively want to quit their jobs. The article even cites one employment specialist as saying more people voluntarily quit their jobs in the past 12 months than were let go.

The article presents several theories for this increased boldness on the part of unhappy employees, such as renewed confidence in the economy and frustration with treatment by employers who think employees should be happy to have a job at all.

For MSPs, specific reasons for this sudden increased desire on the part of employees to leave their jobs are not that important. The important thing is that combined with a lack of new hires, companies experiencing employees voluntarily leaving, especially in large numbers, will have an even greater need for managed services.

SMBs Most Vulnerable

SMBs are the most vulnerable employers in this scenario. Generally speaking, SMBs cannot match the salaries of larger competitors. During the last economic boom, many SMB start-ups gained a reputation for flex hours, comfortable work environments, etc., that helped them make up for what they couldn’t offer in salaries. The recession has largely destroyed that reputation, as SMBs must now be just as inflexible and demanding as larger companies, but without the cushion of knowing their workers are too scared to quit.

In addition, when a disgruntled employee does leave, SMBs are at a serious disadvantage to replace them. Particularly if the employee is an IT professional, SMBs will have a hard time recruiting a qualified replacement with their lower pay rates, and also will have difficulty affording the expense of recruiting and training a replacement. Doesn’t outsourcing IT and other critical business functions to an MSP sound like an appealing solution to this problem?

Keep Your Ear to the Ground

The Boston Globe offers an anonymous source describing how 10 people at her 200-person online media firm left within a year due to poor treatment by management. That’s 5% turnover in one year, which is pretty steep even for the media industry. This type of mass exodus does not happen quietly. MSPs need to develop a network of sources in a variety of industries who can fill them in on such events, as well as watch trade publications for announcements of notable departures. Every company, especially an SMB, which loses even one valued employee is a potential client for managed services. Just be sure you’re treating your own valuable employees well.

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