Of the group of new hires I started with at this company, 50% are now gone (one of them was fired during the middle of busy season - we think. No one really knows what happened.). Of those one year ahead of me when I started, 50% have also left the company this year. One of my coworkers just announced this week they are switching to another firm, thus prompting this post.
I know high turnover is a fact of life in public accounting but it is a different thing to be living it first hand. Kind of scary to see how quickly things change. We will be getting a bunch of new hires in the fall, and then maybe next year we'll lose some of our first years that we hired last fall already.
In a way, it's good for those of us left behind - more work to go around. To some extent, it seems you can get ahead in the firm just by sticking around long enough. One of my professors actually did some interesting research on whether the people who end up sticking around the longest at audit firms are actually the best people to be auditors. Do the people who self-select out due to boredom, or promises of higher salaries, actually have better auditing skills than those left behind? Of course, as the last few people to "quit" were very strongly encouraged to do so, one cannot underperform and keep the job just by showing up to work every day.
The other thing turnover makes you think of are the potential jobs available out there. Are there better jobs than I currently have? How much more would I get paid if I switched firms? For me, my current firm is still proving to be a good fit for me. I could probably get myself a small pay raise by switching firms, as that seems like a way some people raise their own salaries faster, but I don't think it would be a big enough pay raise to make much of a difference at this point. Basically, all CPA firms in the city pay new hires very similar salaries, so it takes a few years for significant differences in salary levels to be created.
Any thoughts of sticking with a firm longer, vs switching jobs every few years to ratchet up your salary?