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Infant attrition sees spike as employees jump jobs in just a month

Infant attrition occurs when a candidate has more than one offer and takes up a position till he/she gets the best choice.

Jul 14, 2017 02:18 PM IST | ByM Saraswathy

Hiring a candidate requires time, effort and money. Retaining him/her requires just the double of that. Infant attrition or the phenomena of individuals quitting their job within one month is on the rise. And human resource firms are grappling with it.

Recruitment experts say about 10-15 percent of annual workforce loss can be attributed to infant attrition and the number is rising steadily.

Typically, a candidate hired for a particular position is expected to be on the role for at least one to three years. This depends on their seniority, pay package as well as the job roles. However, infant attrition occurs when a candidate has more than one offer and takes up a position till he/she gets the best choice. Once the coast is clear, they resign and leave no trace of having ever worked in the organisation.

There has been a rise in the number of individuals quitting within a few weeks, said N Shivakumar, business head-recruitment process outsourcing, TeamLease Services.

"It is a business loss for companies because a new hire takes time and it is only after screening hundreds of candidates does an individual get shortlisted," he said.

Shivakumar added that these individuals do not disclose the fact that they were employed in an organisation for such a short time-frame. The most common reasons, he said, that candidates give are issues with the reporting manager or a better offer in hand.

Most companies do not have a concept of notice period till an employee completes three months. Hence, it is easier for candidates to quit easily, which is usually done without informing the direct reporting manager. While companies unofficially maintain a registry of individuals who have quit without giving proper notice/reasons, there is no industry-wide data sharing that happens.

Human resource experts are of the view that often students from the top engineering and management institutes have unreal expectations about the job since a lot of them have no prior work experience.

"Especially with public sector enterprises which have a very different way of functioning than private entities, fresh graduates do face a culture shock. Several large PSUs have been irked by heavy attrition on the sales and marketing front within the first one to two months of joining because of which they have stopped going for campus placements," said a senior official with a large mass recruitment firm.

Further, public sector banks are now barred from going for campus placements and are required to hire talent only through competitive examinations.

Sunil Goel, managing director, GlobalHunt explained that when there is a gap of one to two months between the relieving date in one company and joining date in another very often spotted in the resume, doubts do arise about whether they were on a break or did take up some other job.

"Often, candidates do get frustrated and take up a job in haste. They later realise that this may not be a right fit for them and end up quitting. There is a rise in such incidents," he said.

Shifting from a structured company to an unstructured one can also lead to early exits. Especially in the case of startups where at the early stages of the company there are no fixed timings or job roles and one is expected to fill-in at anytime.