Why Do Employees Quit? 6 Reasons Employees Consider Leaving Their Jobs

As a business owner, you know that turnover is expensive and stressful. Every employee is an investment for your business, and it can be difficult to see one go. Plus, the process of recruiting and hiring a replacement can take your attention away from running your business, resulting in lost productivity and revenue.

If you’re in an industry that’s known for turnover, the problem is even worse because it can lower the morale of the employees that stick around, increasing the likelihood of even more turnover. 

It’s no wonder that two big questions on every employer’s mind are:

1. Why do employees quit? 

2. How can I keep my employees around? 

At CareerPlug, employee retention is at the forefront of our minds too. Every year, we conduct research to learn from real job seekers and employees as part of our Candidate Experience Report. This research includes asking workers in various industries what makes them want to leave their current job to see what employers could be doing better.

Let’s take a closer look at the data, so that you can be better equipped to retain the members of your team. 

why do employees quit

Reasons employees quit 

Let’s start by highlighting the amount of people we surveyed that have recently considered leaving their job. Out of our 500 participants, 49% said they have thought about leaving their current job in the last twelve months. 

This is huge! And the trend can be seen across industries. For example, 55% of employees in the Education & Childcare industry said they’ve considered leaving their job in the last 12 months. 52% of employees who work in Insurance & Financial Services said they have considered leaving their current job in the last year as well. 

So why is it that half of our survey participants have considered leaving their job?

Let’s break down some of the main reasons employees are looking for new opportunities. 

1. Dissatisfaction with current compensation 

Inflation has had an impact on everyone in the last year. Plus, labor is in high demand, so many employees/job seekers have more leverage than ever before when it comes to demanding better pay. This shift in power has influenced many employees to quit in search of higher wages. 

#1 reason employees quit

In our survey, dissatisfaction with current pay was both the #1 reason employees have considered leaving their job and why they have actually left a job in the last year.

To combat this reason, you can start by making sure you’re paying competitive wages. Check your compensation against similar roles in your area using Glassdoor’s salary calculator. When considering wage increases, keep in mind replacing one employee can cost as much as 1-2x their annual salary, so paying your employees what their worth may actually save you money in the long run.

2. Poor onboarding experience 

Did you know that up to 20% of turnover occurs within the first 45 days of employment? A new employee that isn’t properly set up for success in their new role is at high risk for quitting shortly after being hired. 

An organized onboarding plan can help. Employees should have a clear understanding from day 1 of what to expect during the first 90 days of employment and what metrics of success they’ll be measured on. 

Outlining your onboarding process and letting new hires complete all required documents and training digitally can help you keep things moving along smoothly. An effective onboarding process can improve new hire retention by as much as 82%! 

3. Not enough flexibility 

One survey by FlexJobs found that 70% of millennials have left or considered leaving a job because it lacked flexible work options, and about half of older workers report the same. Workers in our survey also said that the desire for a more flexible work schedule made them consider leaving their job in the last year. 

If you can’t allow employers to work from home or adopt a hybrid work schedule, try to find other ways to infuse some flexibility into the workplace. You may allow employees to swap shifts with one another or have more control in their scheduling. More PTO and vacation days can also help give employees the work/life balance they crave. 

4. Lack of benefits 

Many employees believe benefits to be just as valuable as competitive compensation and a lack of good benefits is another big reason employees quit. Once again, with labor in such high demand, employees are seeking out jobs that offer them more with employers that are willing to invest in their workers. 

Health insurance, 401k, and other employee perks are becoming more commonplace, and employers that get more competitive or creative with employee benefits will likely have better luck both recruiting and retaining employees. 

5. The work environment 

A work environment that you like is obviously important for job satisfaction, and disliking the work environment seems to be an influence on why employees quit. 

In our Toxic Work Environment Report, we found that 72% of employees have left a job because of a negative work environment and 51% said they plan on leaving their current job for the same reason. 

It’s also worth pointing out that the importance of the work environment may have a bigger impact in certain industries. For example, 60% of job seekers in restaurant and food services said they left their last job because they disliked the work environment and 90% of job seekers in the fitness industry reported leaving their last job for the same reason. 

6. Conflicting responsibilities

Sometimes the reason an employee leaves has little to do with the actual job itself, rather outside circumstances play a big role. Caring for a sick family member, the addition of a new child, or other care responsibilities can also lead to employees quitting. 

A flexible work environment and supportive culture that values work/life balance can help you retain employees who are considering leaving because of these personal reasons. 

Other factors to consider

Though our research gives us great insight into some of the main reasons employees quit, there are still plenty of other factors to consider. General job stress, burnout, and lack of mental health support may cause employees to take time away from a role. Changes at home, a move to a new city, or the desire for growth all may lead employees to seek out something new. 

Many times, there is not one simple reason for an employee quitting their job, rather many factors coming together that leads them to the decision to resign. As an employer, you can’t control everything, but you can give your employee’s a chance to share how their feeling and gauge sentiment within your organization. Regular Pulse surveys can help you monitor trends over time, so that you can create a more positive workplace.

Keeping employees around 

Instead of focusing on the things that make employees leave, think in terms of what makes employees want to stay. Get to know the needs of your employees and act accordingly. 

Provide employees with truly competitive compensation and offer raises or bonuses when you can. Employee perks and benefits can go a long way in making employees feel appreciated and secure. Flexibility and autonomy are more desired than ever in today’s labor landscape. 

When all is said and done, what employees are asking employers for is actually pretty simple: Be a great place to work.

Want more insight from employees and job seekers?

Our annual Candidate Experience Report goes straight to the source. Learn what job seekers and employees are looking for in a hiring process and beyond so you can improve both hiring and retention.


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