About 18.9 million Americans — 11.4% of the workforce — either switch occupations or exit the labor force entirely each year. Many of these workers may have made the choice to leave their jobs for a higher-paying job, a better work environment, a career better suited to their skills or interests, or simply to retire. In other cases, these workers may not have had a choice and were either laid off or terminated.
But not all occupations have the same conditions, and conditions in some may encourage more workers to leave — willingly or not. In these occupations, turnover rates far exceed the national average.
Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections program, 24/7 Wall St. identified the occupations Americans are most likely to lose. Occupations are ranked by their turnover, or separation rate — the annualized share of workers projected to leave the occupation, either to retire or start a new career — voluntarily or not. The separation rates on this list range from to 16.4% to nearly 25%. In the case of a tie, the occupation with more workers ranked higher.
The occupations with the highest turnover tend to share several characteristics. Some of them are physically demanding and can take a toll on workers’ health. Many of them require little in the way of formal education or training and involve simple, repetitive tasks. Additionally, in nearly every job on this list, the median compensation is well below the median salary across all occupations of $39,810. Here is a list of the 25 lowest paying jobs in America.
Other occupations on this list are simply becoming less common. Six of the 24 jobs on this list are projected to have a decline in overall employment from 2018 to 2028. Waning demand for these workers suggests that high turnover rates are more likely to be driven by layoffs.
It is important to note that these projections do not account for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Recent fluctuations in economic activity due to the coronavirus outbreak and efforts to contain it, as well as government relief programs for employers and workers, are likely to have significant impacts on separation rates in coming years. Many of the occupations on this list are in the industries hardest hit by COVID-19, including accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment and recreation, and leisure and hospitality. Here is a complete list of the industries being devastated by the coronavirus.
Click here to see the 24 jobs you are most likely to lose
Click here to read our methodology