When Do People Leave Their Jobs?
Through my experience as CEO of Direct IT Recruiting combined with my research, I have compiled a list of the most popular occurrences of when people leave their jobs.
Of course, we must take into consideration the unprecedented increase in the Canadian unemployment rate due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 7.2+ million Canadians have applied for the CERB Canadian Emergency Response Benefit in April 2020. This is so terribly unfortunate that millions of people were forced to leave their jobs, have reduced hours or furloughed and staying at home to keep Canada and the world healthy.
Months 1-3 of a New Job:
The first through the third month of a new job is a critical time for a new employee. There are many factors that may cause an employee to leave during this timeframe such as dissatisfaction caused by a difference in the actual job compared to the employee’s expectations. Secondly, while looking for a job and attending several interviews with various companies prior to accepting the new role, multiple job offers are now being extended. The employee could accept one of these new job offers as it could be his dream job that he was hoping for, or another company with a much higher compensation and benefits, perhaps a shorter commute. Months 1-3 is generally within the company’s probation period so if an employee is not performing then the new employee is terminated without notice. It is essential that the company and employee establish regular open dialogue discussing the employee’s performance, employee’s expectations, company’s expectations and goals. A smooth employee onboarding experience with a training schedule, meeting key people and colleagues within the organization, establishing goals and milestones will deepen the roots and loyalty between the new employee and company. These steps will reduce new employee turnover.
Months 7-12 of a New Job:
Months 7-12 marks the next critical timeframe when new employees frequently leave their jobs. The one-year anniversary is often related to the results of a disappointing performance appraisal, employees may not receive the size of bonus or salary increase they were hoping for and leave. Perhaps the company may be experiencing financial difficulty or going through a merger/acquisition, projects have halted leading to overall employee dissatisfaction and the new employee will start looking for a new job.
Months 4-6 of a New Job:
Months 4-6 is still within the probation period for many companies, and not all employees pass their probation. Multiple offers could still be trickling in from their time on the job market. As well, they may realize the job was not as promised or described during the interview process, leading to employee disappointment resulting in leaving the new company.
Months 13-15 of a New Job:
Within the 13-15 month period, the employee may have received their year-end bonus, and then leave, due to job dissatisfaction. Typically, these employees stay just long enough to collect their bonus then resign. As well, sometimes employees realize they are in above their heads with their workload or skillset and try to leave the project before it fully rolls-out as the job is too much for them. This may be perceived as leaving before they get fired, as they are concerned about not being able to deliver what was expected of them.
3-4 Year Range and 10+ Year:
Another reason that is similarly prominent to the 13-15-month period is shared by the 3-4-year range, as well as 10 years or more. This can be due to the employee proving themselves, having delivered successfully on their job, and is now ready to leave. The employee may “boost the resume” with these new skills and accomplishments and put themselves on the job market to test their increased value. This period is long enough to not appear like a “job-hopper,” and many of these employees are seeking a salary increase, where the new skills they acquired lead to a more profitable job at a new workplace.
At the 10+ year mark, employees may experience an epiphany that they may either remain at the same company for the rest of their working career or start looking for another role. Perhaps they realize that they are bored or have become complacent in the role. The employee may wish to seek new challenges, career ambitions, expand their skillset and industry knowledge.
Work Anniversaries (Especially Years 1, 3, 5 10):
Work anniversaries in general are the most common reasons for employees to leave, and employers often see a spike on work anniversaries. The most common are the 1, 3, 5, 10 year marks, and these may all have various motivations, but many of them revolve around a sense of great accomplishment, and want something new, where they can showcase their newly-acquired skills in a workplace that either is more suited to them, seeking a promotion, higher salary and compensation.
Milestone Birthdays (Ages 30, 40, 50, 60):
While work anniversaries are generally the most likely time for people to leave their jobs, there is an assortment of other times when people leave their jobs. One of these include major birthdays (30, 40, 50, sometimes 60), where people take the time to re-evaluate their lives and career goals and look at what goals they had set for themselves when they turned a certain age. This often leads to employees realizing they want to change themselves, or return to school for a higher education, or leave their current job to attain a promotion. While work anniversaries is a common time for employees to leave, employees may also begin to update their LinkedIn profiles and revise their resumes on their special milestone birthdays. Employers should be on the lookout for revised LinkedIn profiles and resumes posted on job boards.
New Year’s Resolution:
As employees turn the calendar to a new year, they set new career goals and resolutions that may not align with their current jobs. Employers can expect a New Year’s “exodus” of sorts, when they see large numbers of employees leave. As an employer, it is best to prepare yourself for this, especially if bonuses are paid during this time.