US Job Switchers More Likely to See Pay Raise Compared with Those Who Stay Put: Analysis

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.
July 29, 2022 Updated: July 29, 2022

The majority of Americans who switch employers are seeing it pay off with higher wage growth, according to a new analysis of government data from Pew Research Center.

According to the analysis, published on July 28, the majority of workers (60 percent) who switched their jobs between April 2021 to March 2022 saw an increase in their real earnings over the year-ago period.

This occurred despite a surge in inflation levels, which currently stand at 9.1 percent, and which has outpaced rising wage gains for many Americans.

The Pew Research analysis also revealed that among workers who stayed put with their employer during this same time period, less than half experienced an increase in real earnings.

From April 2020 to March 2021, some 51 percent of job switchers saw an increase in real earnings over the year-ago period amid a surge in demand for new hires.

Meanwhile, among workers who did not change employers, the share reporting an increase in real earnings decreased, from 54 percent over the 2020–21 period to 47 percent over the 2021–22 period.

“Put another way, the median worker who changed employers saw real gains in earnings in both periods, while the median worker who stayed in place saw a loss during the April 2021 to March 2022 period,” Pew Research Center analysis authors wrote.

Not Enough Pay

One of the top reasons cited by Americans for quitting their job last year was low pay, according to a separate Pew Research Center survey, conducted in February 2022.

Overall, 2.5 percent of workers (roughly 4 million) switched employees on average every month from January to March 2022, compared with 2.3 percent each month in 2021, according to the latest data.

Roughly a third (34 percent) of workers who left a job between January and March 2022, either voluntarily or involuntarily, found a new employer by the following month, the data show.

Pew Research Center’s study was based, in part, on an analysis of monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) data between January 2019 and March 2022.

It also was based on a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults conducted by the Pew Research Center from June 27 to July 4, 2022, among 6,174 adult respondents, including 3,784 employed adults.

The analysis authors acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic may have affected data-collection efforts, which also may have affected some measures of economic outcomes in the study.

“What’s happening is that people who are switching jobs are finding it more likely than people who are staying with the same employer to get a gain in real earnings,” Rakesh Kochhar, senior researcher at Pew Research Center and one of the report’s authors, told Business Insider. “So in that sense, there is a benefit to switching jobs.”

The latest analysis from Pew Research Center comes as the Joint Economic Committee’s State Inflation Tracker reports that inflation was costing American households an extra $718 in June, up from $635 in May.

Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, published on July 13, show that American workers’ real average hourly and weekly seasonally adjusted earnings fell between May and June.

Wages saw an increase of only 0.3 percent in average hourly earnings in June, compared to the 1.3 percent increase in inflation.

Real average hourly earnings also decreased by 3.6 percent from a year ago, while earnings went up 0.9 percent, and inflation drove up prices by 4.4 percent, compared with the same month in 2021.

Bryan Jung contributed to this report.

Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.