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More people are 'ghosting' their employers — is low unemployment the reason?


'People just fall off the face of the Earth'

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Economists and recruiters have reported that more and more workers are "ghosting" their employers — leaving work one day and never coming back without any notice, or getting hired and never showing up for work, according to The Washington Post.

One global staffing firm, Robert Half, reported a 10- to 20-percent increase in employee ghosting in the past year.

"You feel like someone has a high level of interest only for them to just disappear," Robert Half D.C. district president Josh Howarth told The Washington Post. "In fairness, there are some folks who might have so many opportunities they're considering and they honestly forget."

Why is this happening? Some analysts say increased ghosting is a consequence of extremely low unemployment rates. The rate is so low, they say, that many employees and job seekers have multiple options to choose from. Job openings have exceeded the number of job seekers for the past eight months, as the unemployment rate has dropped to a near 50-year low of 3.7 percent.

What industries does it impact? Ball State University labor economist Michael Hicks told the Post that positions such as janitor, barista, welder, accountant and engineer are all in such high demand that people might feel like it's OK to just move on to the next opportunity without informing the previous employer.

"Why hassle with a boss and a bunch of out-processing when literally everyone has been hiring?" Hicks asked.

China has had a problem with ghosting even before the issue surfaced in the U.S., and it got so bad that some firms hire two people for every job.

"We generally make two offers for every job because somebody doesn't show up," Randstad Sourceright CEO Rebecca Henderson said.

Is age a factor? Younger employees working low-paying jobs can be particularly tempted to ghost, especially when they know they can just get another job easily.

"I didn't call. I didn't show up," 26-year-old Zach Keel said to the Post about ghosting a server job in Austin, Texas, last year. "I figured: No point in feeling guilty about something that wasn't that big of an issue. Turnover is so high, anyway."

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