Why Employees Quit

In the last report we learned that about 2.5 million workers leave their jobs voluntarily in the USA. We also calculated the serious economic impact to the economy at large and to a company’s budget. While some of these departures can be attributed to people moving up, not all of these workers leave in pursuit of a promotion. Let’s take a closer look at the reasons behind quitting.

First, only a small percentage of people have their dream job. A 2013 survey by the University of Phoenix indicates that only 14% of the respondents felt they were in their dream career. Conversely, the same survey showed that 55% of employees were interested in a career change. This is true not only of young workers. In fact the percentage of people looking for a career change remains near the 50 percentile for employees in their 40’s and 50’s.

Next, reports from Gallup and the University of Phoenix indicate that 60% of employees would like to be their own boss and 39% would like to own their own business.

Another important observation is highlighted in a 2007-2008 Survey by The survey results are similar to results of more recent surveys. The data reveals that over 25% of the respondents consider compensation to be the top reason for leaving a job. However, the same surveys reveal that 22-28% of respondents also choose to stay in their jobs due to their relationship with managers and peers. The survey also reveals that for 55% of respondents to be lured to another company based on salary alone, it would take a raise of over 16% to convince them to leave.

So while compensation is a key factor, the relationship with managers and coworkers is also an aspect that deserves serious consideration. A 2014 survey by CareerBuilder supports this notion stating that 79% of workers that have no intention to quit in 2014. The top reason for choosing to stay: because they like the people they work with (54%).

Furthermore, a survey published in July 2013 by Office Team reveals that 61% of employees expressed they would be likely or very likely to leave their company if they did not feel engaged. A study by Accenture in 2013 and the previously mentioned survey also reveal that work-life balance is another deciding factor in retention for 25-31% of women.

To summarize what we have learned, we have a workforce where 86% of employees feel they are not in their dream career. About half of them would like to change careers and be their own boss. A fourth of them feel they are not compensated as they should, but to leave most people would only consider a raise of over 16%. The other most common factors in deciding to leave or not are relationship with peers and managers, engagement and work balance.

In our final segment we’ll discuss our options and what retention strategies make most sense.

Don’t forget to enroll in our October 22 Productivity Strategies Webinar.


Posted in Skills for Managers, Staff Training.