Top 10 Reasons Why People Quit
Yes, times are tough, and it’s definitely been a buyer’s market for labor. And yet, quitting jobs is on the rise — for four months now. “Job leavers,” as the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls them, have outnumbered the involuntarily unemployed, and the trend has been upward, rapidly climbing to about two-thirds of pre-recession levels.
What motivates people to leave jobs, even when the market is still tight? Here are ten of the many reasons people are leaving their jobs.
1. Improving Job Market
An improving job market is the biggest single rising driver of workers’ willingness to quit. Employees who have been hanging on out of uncertainty may have all the more dissatisfaction built up and be all the more ready to jump ship.
2. Your Own Terms
The recession itself did and continues to exacerbate conditions that can help people make the decision to quit. Underemployment is still high among many who have had hours cut and are eager to get back to full time work. Often arbitrary-seeming layoffs create a climate of fear and insecurity, which reduces morale and may convince employees the best course is to leave on their own timetable. On a positive note, compensation packages for voluntarily leaving rather than playing the layoff lottery convinces some workers they can weather the storm long enough to find something better.
Job stress affects at least eight out of ten workers. For four out of ten – some of whom have suffered injuries or had other stress-related disruptions of their lives away from work — it’s bad enough to make them quit. Stress has intensified with layoffs and budget cuts. And stress can, in a vicious cycle, be caused by and contribute to many other of the common reasons for worker dissatisfaction.
4. Who You know
Not all reasons for leaving a job are negative. Better opportunities arise for many who keep working their networks during the hard times. As more people are in a position to do this, the market becomes more fluid — every vacancy is an opportunity for someone else. And although anti-worker sentiment has been strong in recent days, America still admires and often rewards its entrepreneurs. Employment uncertainty pushes some to make the leap to start their own business.
5. Going No Where
The dead-end job. Workers who see no future, or a cloudy one, in their present job, account for somewhere around a third of workers who intend to quit. Communication of opportunity may be as important for retention as opportunity itself. While a quarter of potential quitters don’t see a long-term future at all in their present jobs, nearly four out of ten say they just don’t know what their prospects might be.
6. The Boss
As is often said, “Employees don’t quit their companies, they quit their bosses.” About 35 percent of workers who have quit a job cite a bad boss as the deciding factor. And if a relationship with a boss is deteriorating, workers may quit not only to avoid being fired, but perhaps also to salvage the best possible reference under the circumstances.
7. Showing Value
Although employee recognition issues are widespread, with four out of ten workers being dissatisfied, about one out of five lists this as among the factors in their leaving. Significantly, this group is also about three times as likely to believe – rightly or wrongly – that the employee evaluation system is unfair.
8. Show Me The Money
Inadequate pay. Whether via official freeze or a general tightening up, wages have been stagnating. There has been some toleration for this while alternatives to freezes and cuts seem scarce and scary. As things look up, workers may be more ready to rethink what they need and deserve, and what risks it may take to get it.
Work-life balance. Not quite a third of workers who mean to stay fault management or corporate culture in this area. Among those voluntarily on the way out, two-thirds feel unsupported in balancing work needs with other areas of their lives. And depending on other factors in one’s life, sometimes personal reasons for leaving are simply too compelling: starting a family, caring for aging parents, relocating with a partner (or not relocating along with one’s job), giving up an exhausting commute, or even returning to school in preparation for a career change.
Among workers who plan to stay with their current employer, three out of four believe management tries hard enough to get opinions and insights from the workforce. Leavers are less satisfied, with six out of ten faulting management for a deaf ear to worker input. Management communication is unsatisfactory for a bit over a third of employees who are planning on keeping their jobs. By contrast, over two-thirds of intended quitters cite this as a factor pushing them out the door.