Why People Leave Their Jobs

By Mark Swartz
Monster Contributing Writer

Is voluntary turnover at your company high? Then it’s time to get a handle on why people leave their jobs. You may be surprised at some of the reasons.

Employers’ perceptions of why employees resign can differ markedly from reality. This gap, if not addressed, leads to higher levels of voluntary departures. It’s hard to fix a problem if you don’t know what’s causing it.

The Top Five Reasons Employees Resign From Their Jobs

A recent Canadian survey of over 1,800 employees identified the top five reasons that people quit. Not unexpectedly, money heads the list. But lack of trust and integrity are also right up there. Here are the top findings on why people resign:

  1. Insufficient pay or unfair pay practices
  2. Lack of honesty/integrity/ethics
  3. Lack of trust in senior leaders
  4. Lack of work-life balance
  5. Unhealthy/undesirable culture

The Top Five Reasons Employers Think Their People Resign

Employers agree with employees that the primary reason for voluntary departures is financial. After that, however, their answers diverge on several important factors. Tellingly, managers seem to lack awareness of how important an ethical and trustworthy work environment is. Here are the top reasons employers cited when asked why their staff resigned:

  • Insufficient pay or unfair pay practices
  • Unmet personal goals and dreams
  • Excessive workload
  • Unexpected job/career opportunity
  • Lack of feedback or recognition

What The Findings Agree On

Given that employers and parting staff agree that money is a key motivator, your pay and rewards structure should be competitive. Says Jeff Aplin, President of the David Aplin Group: “From Vancouver to Halifax we are seeing a return to the almighty dollar as the top driver of why people quit jobs in Canada. This is a shift from the softer influences on turnover such as life balance that we’ve seen previously. After a few years of sluggish growth, people are more motivated than ever to get ahead economically.”

Yet money itself may not be the main financial determinant. Your benefits package may be lacking compared to industry standards. The survey says that 61% of employees would trade financial or base compensation for extra vacation days or a shorter work week. Only 52% indicated that a higher salary or pay raise would increase their tolerance for the undesirable aspects of their job.

The Trust And Honesty Gap

Employers are no doubt right that excessive workload and lack of feedback contribute to an employee’s departure. More than that, though, an unethical or unfair workplace drives people to leave.

How is it that employers failed to mention honesty or integrity in their top five reasons employees bail? Maybe managers assume their people are more concerned with unmet personal goals and dreams. Or believe their staff isn’t all that bothered when decision making transparency fades to black.

You can reduce this misunderstanding by ensuring that fairness is practiced across the board. People who lie and cheat should face consequences instead of being rewarded. Also, avoid the perception of bias by eliminating things like ageism or nepotism.

The Gap Of Grass Being Greener Elsewhere

47% of the managers and HR professionals surveyed said their departing employees were motivated more by the attraction of an outside opportunity than by their dissatisfaction or desire to leave. In reality that’s not necessarily true.

More than a third of parting employees said they were motivated more by their unhappiness than by the attraction or availability of an outside opportunity. So don’t think that your employees will stay no matter what if the economy is bumpy.

Replacing Good Employees Is Expensive

The survey results back the fact that employee turnover affects your bottom line,” said Jeff Aplin. “What’s more is the cost of replacing an employee is estimated to be between 75% and 200% of the employee’s annual compensation.”

That’s a high price to pay for not understanding the needs of your staff. Knowing more about why they really leave gives you a chance to put into place better retention strategies

Stuck With an Employee Leaving Their Job?

In spite of your best efforts, sometimes having to replace an employee is an inevitable outcome. However, that does not mean you have to start from scratch. Monster is here to be your go-to resource when it comes to hiring. Find out how you can get started with a free job posting today.