JOLTing Tech Employee Burnout

Feeling burnt out at work? It’s not just you. Tech sector employees are particularly susceptible to burn out. Stock options and a chance to create world-changing technology are only partial compensation for long hours and stringent deadlines.

Message board app, Blind, which allows tech employees to communicate anonymously recently surveyed +11,000 workers at 30 of the largest tech firms. It asked: “Are you currently suffering from job burnout?” The majority (57.2%) of respondents said “yes”.

Here are the top 5 companies where the most employees reported being burnt out:

  • Credit Karma: 70.7%
  • Twitch: 68.8%
  • Nvidia: 65.4%
  • Expedia: 65.0%
  • Oath: 63.9%

And the bottom 5:

  • Netflix: 38.9%
  • PayPal: 41.8%
  • Twitter: 43.9%
  • Facebook: 49.0%
  • Uber: 49.5%

For reference, here’s some other notable names that fell in between:

  • Snapchat: 60.4%
  • Lyft: 60.2%
  • Amazon: 59.5%
  • Airbnb: 57.9%
  • Apple: 57.5%

The upshot: a great many employees at the biggest tech firms – the same ones fueling the current US equity market rally, by the way – feel burnt out.On the plus side, their skills are likely so in demand that they could quit their jobs and find better/less stressful opportunities. We view this as a healthy function of the labor market, as it helps put upward pressure on wages and it reflects worker confidence in themselves and the economy.

This is why we review the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey when it’s out each month, as it provides more granular details about the state of employment than the first-Friday jobs report, such as how many people quit their positions. It is one-month delayed, but is also based on a larger population sample than the Employment Situation report.

Here are our key takeaways from the report out today based on April, the latest available data:

  • The number of job openings rose to a record high (data back to December 2000) of 6.7 million, up 9.7% y/y in April. Employers are also hiring at a rate near record levels, up 6.8% y/y to 5.58 million.
    With that said, the gap between openings and hires remains abnormally wide. Hires outpaced openings from the start of the data series in December 2000 through July 2014, but the opposite has proved true since.

    Openings exceeded hires by over 1 million for the second consecutive month in April, for example, versus the average of 341k since August 2014 when the trend first reversed in favor of openings. We believe this highlights the continued mismatch between employers’ job requirements and workers’ qualifications, as consistently featured in the Fed’s recent Beige Book reports.

  • The number of quits increased 9.1% y/y to 3.35 million in April, also in record territory. This figure is especially robust and shows a very tight labor market. Our “Take this job and shove it” indicator – or quits to total separations – slipped to 62.0% from the peak of 63.6% in March, as the number of layoffs and discharges rose 1.4% y/y to 1.71 million. Nevertheless, this data is still strong versus historical averages.
  • Our friend Jeff Cox at CNBC also pointed out how April was the second straight month where there are more job openings than unemployed workers. In April, there were 6.35 million total eligible workers looking for jobs compared to 6.7 million open positions. To put this in perspective, this is the first year the number of unemployed persons outpaced the level of jobs available since JOLTS started in 2000. When asked why this has not translated into higher wages, we referred Jeff to our first point relative to employers having trouble finding workers with the right skills: “it’s hard to increase wages when you don’t have the proper qualifications for a worker to fill that role.”
    You can read Jeff’s article and our full response here on CNBC.

Bottom line, the labor market remains robust, but the discrepancy between employers’ requirements and workers’ skills needs to be addressed in order for wages to accelerate more meaningfully.

Source for tech employee burnout survey: Business Insider

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