What are the Top 7 Reasons for Leaving a Job?

There’s no denying that more people are leaving their jobs than ever before. Over the last decade – and particularly since the global pandemic – the number of employees leaving their roles voluntarily has risen year-on-year. Some of this increase can be drawn back to a change in attitude – many younger people are finding themselves moving on, rather than staying at one employer for an extended period.

Research suggests that workers are not necessarily unhappy in their jobs, they just feel they might have a better experience elsewhere. Millennials particularly are more focused on growth, progression and improvement, which inevitably leads to moving roles in search of development. 

For employers, this obviously presents a challenge when it comes to retaining top talent and building long-term relationships with their team. This has led to a shift in how bosses are thinking about employee satisfaction and retention. Employers want to ensure their workers have job satisfaction and are starting to actively push new initiatives or schemes to make that happen.

Below we explore the top 7 reasons for leaving a job and why employees are starting to think about other roles that may benefit them.

1. Flexibility

One of the most common reasons for leaving a job is a lack of flexibility – especially as remote working has become more frequent in the workplace. Work-life balance is a major priority for many workers and these days, people have higher expectations of what that looks like.

This is especially true of roles that struggle to accommodate flexible working hours or feature unsociable working hours. Many workers that have children may need slightly different working times than others to accommodate the school run, for example. If a company cannot take this into account, it may struggle to retain these workers.

The same can be said for roles that expect to work into the evening or require lots of overtime. While some employees will be happy to take this on, it won’t be for everyone. Ultimately, combatting this problem requires a frank discussion around flexibility and sometimes, flexible working can be helpful when a company wants to reduce worker absences or provide better job satisfaction to those with longer commutes.

2. Salary

Salary is the most obvious answer to ‘why people leave a job’ and it still remains the case today. It’s not unfair to say that most people are working for money and if they don’t feel they’re being compensated fairly, they may leave. 

As an employee, it’s important to understand how much you’re worth in the jobs market. As you gain new responsibilities or build out your skill set, your market value will naturally rise. Always take the time to research what a competitive salary looks like for your role and push for this in pay reviews.

For employers, ensuring that you’re providing a competitive salary – or at least bolstering it with benefits or bonuses – can reduce the amount of workers leaving a job. If budgets allow, be open to offering pay rises based on reaching targets or overperforming against expectations.

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3. Bad company culture

Having a bad company culture can often lead to people leaving their jobs and can be a more difficult fix than simply giving someone more money. 

At its core, company culture is based on a broad range of factors instilled from the top down. How managers speak to employees, how employees are encouraged to speak to each other, whether good performances are rewarded and things such as social activities all contribute to a company culture.

Things such as bullying or negativity can be difficult to spot for an employer but it’s vital to find it and root it out as soon as possible.

Different industries also have different cultures. Traditionally, a sales team at a business will generally have a very different culture than a marketing team, for example. However, both of these teams are working towards the same long-term goals. For this reason, a harmonious company culture will focus on collaboration and ensuring these teams work well together – despite how they might work individually.

4. Role is unsuitable

Many employees leave jobs early on because they realise they’re not a good match. This can be for a variety of reasons but from an employee’s perspective, it may be because the job was not advertised properly or the application process was not thorough enough.

Employers are typically fixing this by working alongside professional recruitment agencies that can identify the correct candidate early on and minimise the potential of a bad long-term fit.

As an employee, you can do your own due diligence to minimise the chances of a bad fit by researching a company, researching the role and making sure you’re applying for jobs that utilise your skill set.

5. Lack of development

A common complaint from younger workers is a lack of professional development. During the early stages of a career, many young professionals want to know they’re improving their skills and consistently increasing their market value as an employee.

For businesses, it’s important to have regular, transparent chats with your employees about potential career progression and where you see them going in the future.

Even something as simple as a ‘career roadmap’ can have a huge impact on the mentality of a worker and give them something to work towards. You can often discover intentions and thus provide this reassurance in regular 1-2-1 sessions. Likewise, encourage training and skill development sessions wherever possible, to help this development along.

6. Lack of challenge

Over time, many employees find they’ve lost the spark at work and no longer feel challenged. This can be particularly difficult for workers that like to feel stimulated and thrive under pressure.

This is a particularly common reason for leaving a job when a business doesn’t encourage workers to operate outside of their skill set. While you may have a worker that excels at one thing but enjoys another, they may not appreciate not being able to try out new opportunities.

7. Underappreciation

Underappreciation – or a lack of recognition – is another major reason for people leaving a job. Many workers like to feel a sense of achievement when they have a breakthrough success and if they don’t experience that, they’ll be less inclined to do it again.

As an employee, it’s important to make sure that you feel seen. If you’re consistently overperforming or leading a long-term project to success, it’s completely reasonable to expect some appreciation to come out of it, no matter how small.

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