Low Pay and High Turnover in Texas State Agencies and Universities Costs Us All

This report spotlights the voices of state workers, who share their experience working during unprecedented and historic staff
turnover. The perspectives provided by these critical workers clearly illustrate the reasons state workforce attrition is at a
historic high and how it impacts the quality of services everyday Texans need. Quantitative and qualitative responses in this
report are derived from a state employee survey. The survey methods section highlights the methodology and the number of
survey participants.
The findings section of the report and survey results document state employees’ concerns over low pay as a primary driver of
high turnover:
● 61% of survey respondents report not receiving a wage increase over the past year, despite historically high levels
of inflation. The state of Texas has not provided an across the board pay increase to the entire state workforce since
● 56% of survey respondents report considering leaving their job for higher compensation.
High turnover has resulted in precarious and concerning working conditions that impact the quality of services received by
everyday Texans:
● 73% of survey respondents report that staffing levels in their department over the past year have been historically
● 71% of survey respondents report that low staffing has affected their agency’s ability to provide
clients/facilities/families with quality services.
Survey respondents report increased workloads as agencies struggle to recruit and retain workers. State employees report
their concerns that rising workloads result in a decline in the quality of services provided to everyday Texans, many of whom
are children.
Many state workers communicate and recognize that the outsourcing of services to private sector companies has resulted in a
stronger focus on case closure and completing services over upholding quality service provision that provides meaningful
interventions and support to Texan families.
Finally, state workers communicated that their work is often stressful and not worth the pay they receive; state employees
have endured emotional stress and in some cases physical harm. Workers who have remained in their jobs do so because they
are committed to their agencies’ missions despite the challenging conditions. The annual cost of state agency turnover is
conservatively estimated at approximately $1.2 billion annually.
1 However, the human toll of high workforce turnover, driven
by low pay and an intentionally eroded public sector, is a reality that state legislators should and must act on.