Benchmarking Employee Turnover: How do you compare?

employee at doctors office

We are going to try another benchmarking exercise today. Just like when we tried benchmarking your sickness absence, I want you to open up your HR software or your personnel database spreadsheet. Or your filing cabinet, if you’re still using paper files.

This time, we’re benchmarking employee turnover. It’s a difficult figure to benchmark, because it varies a lot from industry to industry, and job role to job role. It’s a bit like benchmarking salary in that there’s no hard and fast answer to what your numbers should look like.

I’d like you to pick a specific department or group of people. If you’re a small business, you might want to use your entire workforce. What we’re going to do, is calculate your annual turnover rate for this particular group of employees.

How to calculate your employee turnover rate

Calculating your average employee turnover rate is pretty easy. Once you’ve selected a group of employees to measure, here’s what you need to do:

1. Work out your average headcount

2. Add up your total number of leavers

3. Divide your leavers by your average headcount

4. Multiply this figure by 100

The number you can now see is your average employee turnover rate for this group of people. You can work this out over a month, for your monthly turnover rate, or a year, for your annual turnover rate. Whatever period you’re using, make sure you apply it to both the average headcount, and the number of leavers.

What is the average turnover rate?

So, now that you have your percentage, let’s benchmark this against the national average.

According to, the average employee turnover rate is around 15%. But what does this mean for you? Does it mean that any number above 15% is good, and any number below is bad?

Not necessarily. Again, a lot of this is down to industry and job roles. In a white paper by the National Business Research Institute, we can see that some industries have a much higher turnover rate on average – such as the entertainment and recreation industry, with a turnover average of 27%. We also see that some have a much lower turnover rate on average – the utility industry has just an 8% turnover rate.

Beyond this, there’s the question of what is “good” and what is “bad”. The number is not as important as the actual cost to your business operations. But that’s another calculation for another day.

There are plenty of resources to help you understand areas of recruitment similar to retention. For example, the CV-Library blog provides plenty of recruitment news and insights.

Dynamic employee turnover benchmarking with People®

Where possible, you should be benchmarking your employee turnover rate against industries and businesses that are similar to your own.

When you sign up to use People®, this functionality is in-built within the software. On your dashboard, you will see your own turnover rate automatically calculated, alongside benchmarking statistics for other organisations similar to your own.


Get started with a free trial today, to start improving retention and reducing staff turnover within your organisation.