"When you are not getting a raise because they've cut everybody's raises … it lowers morale and you don't feel like coming to work," Carter said. "I would have been gone within six months if I didn't need that job, and I desperately needed that job and wasn't going anywhere."
Carter starts in July. She is looking forward to a salary increase and an annual bonus.
Carvin believes the entry of younger employees into the workforce, with different expectations than older workers about the amount of time they will spend with any one employer, will contribute to continued rising turnover rates.
"'Job-hopper' used to be a dirty word," Carvin said. "You were trained that you should try to stay with a company long-term. If everyone left after two years, it would equate to employee turnover of 50 percent … beyond manageability for organizations."
As turnover increases and companies grow, some firms are beginning to face stiffer competition for qualified workers.
WellNet Healthcare Group, a pharmacy benefits administrator based in Howard County, expects to hire 70 people this year, including business developers, engineers and technology developers.
"It's a very competitive landscape," said Keith Lemer, WellNet's president. "We have also noticed the market get a little tighter, and people have been getting a little more competitive in their negotiations."
When making offers to engineers, for example, "we're being told [that] we need to increase our offer by 10 to 20 percent and that there may be another offer on the table," Lemer said.
"Eighteen months ago, we had a little bit more leverage."