Turnover intention job embeddedness

Recruitment Research – Active Job-seekers

Thesis/Research result: Active Job-seekers surprisingly display low Turnover Intention – Recruitment research

Below are practical findings from a quantitative HR research masters dissertation, September 2018

Link to full researchgate publication

In August 2018 I completed a Masters thesis for the Human Resource Management program at DCU. Below is a practical word on the outcome of the research for HR, Job-seekers, and recruiters, followed by a summary, followed by the full thesis abstract, followed by a link to Researchgate.

The research was a statistical regression analysis of Turnover intention among 92 active professional job-seekers in Ireland, who had recently uploaded their details to Irish job-boards.Research background

Job embeddedness, turnover intention, shock - model irish job seekers

What’s this about?

For HR teams

Practically speaking, results imply that there may be real opportunity for HR teams to re-engage employees who seem to want out. Simply put – monitoring Job-boards and Linkedin for signs of Job-search may save you budget and help keep your best people. It may be the cheapest and most effective way to retain key staff in a tight labour market, where the accumulated cost of new-hires can run into the tens of thousands for even junior hires. Despite exhibiting high job-embeddedness and job-satisfaction levels, and low Turnover intention, professionals were still out in the open actively looking. If HR teams wanted to engage with those staff indicating Turnover Intention, a frank conversation could be a stitch-in-time. Perhaps an internal move, or more work from home options would be enough to take them out of the cross-hairs of the competition.

For job-seekers

Results of the survey indicate that when you’re updating your details on CV databases, it may be useful for you to express exactly what you want to change in your professional life. Put those details front and centre at the top of your CV/profile – it will cut down on wasted contacts, and increase the likelihood a recruiter will do some free searching for you.

For recruiters

This research may inform your talent attraction efforts. You might be wasting your time on CV databases. More specifically, your assumptions should be re-calibrated to alter your approach to active candidates online.

The statistical regression analysis was focused on 92 active professional job-seekers in Ireland, who had recently uploaded their details to Irish job-boards. We are a recruitment business, and the findings have relevance for sections of HR and recruitment within many organisations.

The main focus was on how Job-embeddedness and Shock influenced Turnover intention. The concept of Job-embeddedness combines the on-the-job and off-the-job aspects of job-seekers’ lives, andhow intertwined they are with work. Many companies work to make employees more ‘sticky’ to their employer. Things like perks, community investment, corporate social responsibility initiatives, work-social clubs, and even parking can all make up a company’s embeddedness strategy.

In plain language, the unexpected and interesting finding of the research was that collectively, active Job-seekers did not display high turnover intention. This is perhaps counter-intuitive for many HR and recruitment professionals – I expected high levels of Turnover intention to be on display for those active Job-seekers.

‘Turnover intention’ as a variable was measured using a three question scale. If you’re new to this, a scale is a way of quantifying a variable, to then be used in statistical analysis. Scales are comprised of varying numbers of questions – the job-embeddedness measurement scale for example consisted of twelve questions.

On a theoretical level, there are some indications that the concept of Job-embeddedness does not apply in smaller centralised, non-diversified economies. This is a new finding, and may have implications for organisations expanding globally. I.e., approaches to curbing turnover in the US and China (where most research that shows Job-embeddedness matters was conducted), may not be justified in Ireland, or Abu Dhabi for example.

If you have any questions on the research or on the Masters program at DCU, feel free to drop me an email at jsullivan ‘@” finsearch.ie



Job Embeddedness, Turnover Intentions and Shock: a replication and extension


Joseph Sullivan

Background & significance: This replication of Hussain & Deery’s (H&D) 2018 research examines the impact of Job Embeddedness and Shocks on the Turnover Intentions of 92 Employed Active Job Seekers in Ireland. Job embeddedness theory is the story of why people stay in their jobs and is dichotomised into on-the-job and off-the-job aspects. Since 2001, studies have shown that both elements can negatively affect turnover intentions. This study is motivated by one overarching research question: can H&D’s research on Job Embeddedness be replicated and extended to a new sample and location? This question echoes the founders of the construct in 2013 when they called for more context-driven Job embeddedness research.

Components of research strategy: No study has examined Job-embeddedness in this context or location to the best of the author’s knowledge. This is a conceptual replication, using different methodologies: the research combines replication with a Critical Realist research paradigm, utilising retroductive techniques to interpret the results of statistical analyses.

Major findings: Both forms of Job embeddedness unexpectedly had no direct predictive validity, and no moderation effects were found. These results indicate that Job Embeddedness may not be relevant in smaller countries with undiversified economies. This research result responds directly to the research gap identified.

As hypothesised, Shocks were found to be a major cause of Turnover Intention. Furthermore, Turnover Intentions were unexpectedly low overall. These findings imply that there are multiple reasons professionals engage in active job search, beyond simply seeking a new job. Despite relatively low tenure levels and unclear causes of shock in the population studied, the positive effect of Shocks on Turnover intentions is validated.

Conclusions: Further research into Job embeddedness in smaller economies is warranted. The research indicates that organisational investment in Job Embeddedness initiatives require contextual consideration. And finally, examining the nature of organisation-specific shocks a as antecedents to active job search may provide a higher return on investment.

Link to full researchgate publication

Active Job-seekers display low Turnover Intention - Recruitment research
Article Name
Active Job-seekers display low Turnover Intention - Recruitment research
HR teams can re-engage employees who may be showing signs of leaving. Monitoring Job-boards and Linkedin should pay-off. Recruiter-assumptions may be wrong,
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Finsearch Professional Recruitment
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