Why Good Employees Leave Their Jobs (The 6 Top Reasons)

Why Good Employees Leave Their Jobs (The 6 Top Reasons)

Mike Roberts

Why do good employees leave their jobs? With the use of industry data, we’ll inspect the top 6 reasons in this article.

During periods of economic growth, we tend to see more jobs created and improvements to the unemployment rate. In fact, July 2015 marked the 58th month of consecutive positive job gains. While these numbers are top-of-mind for recruiters, another data point has been making some waves in news feed lately: the percentage of people quitting their jobs.

In June 2015, the quits rate was 1.9%, which is almost 6% higher than it was this time last year. This is an interesting number for recruiters, because, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts it: “Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs.”

In other words, employees leaving can be indicative of job hopping, workers setting out to explore entrepreneurial avenues, or something else like people simply quitting their current positions without a new job lined up. Aside from where people go when they quit, it can be very powerful for recruiters to know why they’re leaving—because, after all, knowing why good employees leave and join could feed yet another weapon in the arsenal if used correctly.

Top 6 Reasons for Leaving Employment

Earlier this year, LinkedIn published the results of a new study, Why & How People Change Their Jobs. The social media mammoth surveyed more than 10.5 thousand people who moved to a new company between December 2014 and March 2015. 90% of the sample was employed full-time, with the remainder comprised of contract, part-time, freelance, student, and self-employed workers.

According to the study, 45% left because they were concerned about a lack of opportunities for advancement, while only 34% left because they were unsatisfied with the compensation and benefits.

data on why good people quit their jobs

 (Source: LinkedIn, Why & How People Change Their Jobs)

These opportunities versus compensation responses are interesting by themselves, but much more-so when analyzed side by side. We tend to think compensation is the foremost priority for job seekers, and research has shown that’s been the case in the past. What’s more, other studies have even shown HR professionals blaming their inability to offer competitive compensation packages for why good employees leave and also for losing out on new hires.

Why Job Seekers Join New Organizations

The next data point validates the previous one quite well. Shown below, 59% of workers took a new job because it offered a stronger career path or more opportunity. This was followed by 54% of workers taking a new job because of better compensation and benefits.

employer branding data

(Source: LinkedIn, Why & How People Change Their Jobs)

When we see such focus on career path and opportunities for growth, the first thing that comes to mind is the shifting demographics in the workplace—the rise of Millennials.

The 2015 Deloitte Millennial Survey showed that Millennials’ number one priority isn’t making money, it’s their own well-being, followed by career growth and development. Considering Millennials now make up the largest proportion of the workforce, it might make sense for recruiters to take special note of this.

Evaluating Your Unique “Selling” Points And Adapting

There’s this notion in sales and marketing about Unique Selling Points (USP), which are essentially what differentiates you from the competition or why someone would switch brands to yours. In the case of recruiting, a USP might translate to the reasons someone might want to work for you when there are thousands of others companies out there. Communicating those points is vital to the long-term success of your talent acquisition efforts, and it falls largely under the category of employer branding.

Although what comprises an employer brand typically goes well beyond the scope of recruiting, recruiters are the most impacted by it. That said, it often makes sense for recruiting to have a seat at the table when discussions are had about employer brand variables—not to mention,  they’re also the medium for getting the word out to the world.

Central to data-driven recruiting is the ability to consume new information and make adaptations to your strategy. As we discussed a few weeks back, repeating this process over time is the foundation of continuous improvement and indicative of movement along the recruitment maturity journey. Data from LinkedIn’s new research study is a perfect example of the information that can guide your future decisions.

Given the information above about why good employees leave and why job seekers join, it makes sense to evaluate the data through the lens of your own organization. Put yourself in the job seekers’ shoes and see if you’re meeting their criteria—or better yet, the criteria you expect to be met. The workforce is changing, and so are employee and candidate expectations—why wouldn’t your recruiting strategy?

To learn more about recruiting metrics, and the role of analytics in helping talent acquisition leaders make better decisions, read our whitepaper, Analytics in Talent Acquisition: The Hype, the Reality, and the Future.

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