What is Driving Employees to Want to Leave Their Jobs?

There has been a lot written about whether workers are ready to leave for another job or not, and the recent What’s Working survey by HR consultant Mercer seemed to add a lot of fuel to the fire.

Get ready for the debate to burn a little hotter.

Kevin Wheeler, in a post over on our sister website ERE.net titled The Door is Opening and People Are Leaving, uses the What’s Working survey to make the point that,  “there is going to be an exodus of workers soon from businesses all across the U.S. … Frustrated employees are seeking new opportunities in record numbers, but if you are prepared, your talent shortages may be over.”

He lists four primary reasons for the upcoming employee exodus:

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  1. Pay — or the lack of reasonable salary increases;
  2. The amount of work employees are being asked to do;
  3. The attitude that younger workers — Millennials — have about the sometimes inflexible and restrictive policies they deal with on the job; and,
  4. A lack of employee development and training.

The Mercer What’s Working survey has been roundly debated, with both TLNT’s Lance Haun (Surprise: It’s Easier to Say You’re Leaving Your Job Than to Actually Do It) and contributor Derek Irvine (Assessing Employees Ready to Leave: Here are 2 Questions You Need to Ask) pretty much taking to task the analysis of the research by Mercer and others.

Wheeler makes a case for working to accept the findings of What’s Working and gives some “creative tactics that can help.” It’s worth taking a good look at — and you can find Wheeler’s ERE piece here — because my guess is that this article is just the beginning of another round of articles and commentaries digging into the veracity of the Mercer research — and whether employees actually are ready to make a move — yet again.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.


2 Comments on “What is Driving Employees to Want to Leave Their Jobs?

  1. Speaking as an experienced recruiter, I can confidently say that this isn’t a theory, it is a fact., Wheeler’s reasons for why people are seeking new employment in the current job market are 100% on point.

  2. In 2003 & 2005 two separate studies came to the following conclusions on the top 3 reasons people leave:
    1) No relationship with the leader
    2) Lack of meaningful work (no perceived “value-added”)
    3) No development opportunities

    Same issues – different labels.  Only real difference now is that “pay” has risen from #7 to #1.

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