Determinant factors of labor turnover in the institutional food service industry

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

This study investigated the factors which may affect turnover in a college foodservice operation. The subjects were current and former employees of foodservice operations operating in Virginia and holding membership in the National Association of College and University Food Services.

Demographic data and employee ratings of job satisfaction were surveyed. Chi-square analysis of the data indicated that: age of the employee, method of remuneration, and how the employee applied for the job, were factors which contributed to turnover rates. Analysis of mean satisfaction levels reported by current and past employees versus demographic data indicated: former employees generally experienced less satisfaction than current employees. However, past employees reported higher satisfaction levels for wages and fringe benefits in 41 percent of the descriptive variables. Differences in the reported satisfaction levels were slight. The variables used to determine satisfaction could not be assumed to influence the termination decision.

This data was skewed as a result of a low return rate for the questionnaire and of a high concentration of employees over 45 years of age, who had worked more than one year. An imbalance of responses from current and former employees may have contributed to the skew. If these data are representative, then turnover in the institutions surveyed may not be a problem.

It is recommended that future studies relating turnover to satisfaction levels of employees survey a larger population and use a method that assures a greater response. The factors external to the job should be included in the study, and finally, the pre-test should provide for the rating of desirability of responses, if regression is to be used.