Why Employees Quit

A survey finds tangible benefits and personal experiences lead employees to seek other employment, and personal experiences carry more weight than one may think.

Two primary drivers affect employee decisions to leave a job: practical elements of a job (such as pay, commute and paid time off), and personal experiences (such as interpersonal relationships and engagement), according to a Randstad survey.


Personal experiences may carry more weight than one may think. For instance, 58% of workers said they’d stay at jobs with lower salaries if that meant working for a great boss.


More than half (59%) of survey respondents said they feel their companies view profits or revenues as more important than how people are treated. Sixty percent have left jobs, or are considering leaving, because they don’t like their direct supervisors. Fifty-three percent have left jobs, or considered leaving, because they believe their employers don’t recruit or retain high-performing individuals.


In addition, 38% of workers want to leave their jobs due to a toxic work culture or one where they don’t feel they fit in. An even larger group (58%) have left jobs, or are considering leaving, because of negative office politics.


Forty-six percent said their teams/departments are understaffed, so they are seeking or considering employment elsewhere. Most (86%) would not apply for or continue to work for a company that has a bad reputation with former employees or the general public, and 65% would likely leave if their employers were being negatively portrayed in the news or on social media because of a crisis or negative business practices.


Looking at tangible benefits and work-life balance, the survey finds nearly half (46%) are considering leaving their jobs within the next year to join the gig economy. Sixty-four percent would consider leaving for opportunities in better locations. Most (82%) expect pay raises every year to stay with their current employers. Sixty-three percent wouldn’t consider job opportunities that offer fewer than 15 paid vacation days annually. More than one-third (36%) are considering leaving their current jobs because they don’t have the ability to work remotely.


The survey results also suggest workers aren’t happy unless they’re reaching their fullest career potential. Fifty-eight percent of workers agreed their companies don’t currently have enough growth opportunities for them to stay longer term. Sixty-nine percent would be more satisfied if their employers better utilized their skills and abilities. More than half (57%) said they need to leave their current companies in order to take their careers to the next level.


And, employers shouldn’t believe that if an employee stays that means he is happy. Half (54%) of employees (both men and women) feel pressure to stay at jobs they don’t enjoy because they are the primary financial providers for their families. Seventy-one percent admitted they stay in their current jobs because it’s easier than starting something new. Seventy-eight percent of workers said their benefits packages are as important as their salaries in keeping them at their current employers. Fifty-six percent don’t seek out or consider other job opportunities because they’d have to start with less paid time off.


The survey was fielded from July 9-13, 2018, and included 763 respondents older than 18 and a nationally representative sample balanced on age, gender and region.