Why Do People Leave Their Jobs?

Here at Direct IT Recruiting, we see large quantities of candidates wanting to leave their jobs. There are many reasons why people leave their jobs, but we want to cover some of the most prevalent reasons.

  1. The Manager

One of the most frequent issues people have with their jobs is their dislike for their manager. Even if you enjoy the work, a manager that doesn’t suit you will frequently result in conflict and ultimately make your job less enjoyable which forces you to seek a new job. Enthusiasm plays a significant role in staying in a job, and a manager that micromanages, constantly criticizes, undermines or otherwise affects work ethic can result in quick turnover with employees. Great managers are incredibly important, as many people will stay in a lower-paying job than with a bad manager at a higher paying job.  There is a certain loyalty and bond between a great manager and employee.  The happiness in the job factor overrules a higher paying job. Approximately 50% of people who leave their job is due to a dislike for their boss.  HINT – in an interview, you can never state that you left a company because of a bad boss.  You must state another more positive reason for you to seek a new opportunity.  Always keep your interview answers in a positive light.

  1. Career Growth

Another reason why people leave their jobs is that an employee desires to continually improve and grow in order to fulfill their career ambitions. Perhaps the employee has held the same level of position for several years becoming overqualified and bored.  This employee is now qualified for a more senior role. This may occur at various times in one’s career, but is a natural occurrence, unless the company supports internally grooming and promoting their employees when possible.   Advancing through education and certifications contribute significantly to career growth.  If a company adopts reimbursing employees for pre-approved successfully completed/passed courses and certifications relating to their work, this may result in higher retention of employees in the workplace.

  1. Technology

The role of technology and keeping up to date with new trends and having hands-on work experience with new technology is an important factor as to why people leave their jobs.  Employees want to keep their technical skills current so that they continue to be challenged with interesting work and remain marketable for future jobs.  

  1. Company

As well, something that is less focused on the employee leaving, and more so affecting the employer is the company itself going through financial instability, a merger or an acquisition.  This will negatively affect the work environment whereby projects may become shelved or cancelled, budgets will be reduced.  If the company goes through a downsizing or restructuring exercise, then this is very stressful on the employees fearing for their jobs. This instability can cause employees to leave due to fear of their job being eliminated or becoming redundant or being uncomfortable with the executive leadership in the case of a merger/acquisition.  As well, if it is a major change to the company location, those who have already established themselves in a certain area, or have families, may not be willing to move.

  1. Location

Location is crucial to any job. If a job is perfect in every way, but has a 3-hour daily commute, it may not be as appealing as it once seemed. As many people have responsibilities outside of work (recreational activities, children, other interests), a long commute, high cost of expenses relating to a long commute (gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, toll charges, parking), inaccessible public transit can lead to an imbalance between work and regular life. If the commute is too long, I find that candidates will become unhappy after 6 months and will try to find a job closer to their home.  Another option is allowing the employee to work-from-home 1-5 days per week.  If a candidate does take on his dream job with a long commute, the candidate should have a plan to move closer to his work once the probation period has been fulfilled and the employee feels secure in his new role.

  1. Money

Money is important, if an employee feels they can make more money elsewhere, they will often follow the opportunity that provides them with the most money. This is especially true for highly sought-after technical skills in a tight labour market.  If you want to keep your talented professionals, the company must pay top salaries.  I also find that these candidates get bombarded with job opportunities and will succumb to the highest bidder with an offer that they cannot refuse.  A great book that I recommend reading is, “Negotiating Your Salary: How To Make $1000 a Minute”, by M. A. Jack Chapman. 

  1. Contract is Maturing

There are many independent contractors and when their contracts are soon maturing, they begin their job search.  There is generally a 2-year limit on the maximum term a contractor can work for one company forcing them to look for a new contract.  Some contractors search for new contracts before their contract matures to try to negotiate a higher rate on an existing contract extension or they do not renew with the company and go to a higher paying contract with a new company.  A word of advice is to give a contractor the longest term possible to eliminate the contract rate negotiations for each contract extension.  It also provides a sense of security for the contractor knowing he does not have to look for a new job with a longer term.  I find the longest term that I see is 1-year at a time.  Companies could also negotiate a slightly lower final bill rate with a longer term.  There is an advantage to both parties for offering 1-year contracts.

  1. Laid Off, Terminated, Pandemic COVID-19

Lastly, people leaving their jobs when they are terminated or laid off due to either performance, unstable company, forced business lockdown due to a pandemic such as COVID-19, or other factors determined by their employer. These are less predictable, and frequently come as a surprise to employees.  It is always wise to keep a nest egg of 3-6 months in the event of a lost job.  Keep your technical skills sharp and current so that you remain marketable. Keep in touch with your professional network especially through LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.  If you are faced with being out of work, all the factors above will enable you to become employed in your field in short order.

These are the most common reasons people leave their jobs, but there are numerous other reasons that are less likely/less common include illness (health reasons), return to school for a higher education, take care of a family member(s), resign (for other reasons), won the lottery, received an inheritance/windfall, retiring, being arrested, or relocating. 

In closing, there are a plethora of reasons to leave your job, all of which are completely fair, and sometimes, trying to get out into the workforce to try something new or changing employers is a wonderful way to keep yourself challenged, continue learning and broaden your professional network.   

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