Why Employees Leave Their Jobs

Posted by | January 18, 2014 | Career, Workplace

I Quit

Usually when the topic of recruitment is discussed people focus on the job aspirant’s point of view or on the troubles of a recruiter who cannot find the right candidate. Lesser spoken about but equally challenging is the task of employee retention. Organizations across the world have a hard time figuring out why employees leave their jobs. If resolved, this win-win situation will ensure that fewer employees quit jobs and lesser employers have open positions to fill.

There are many theories and surveys that try to solve the mystery around attrition; the research brings to light a few felons responsible for individuals switching jobs.

Bad Manager

This is the top reason that most statistics agree with. Experts opine that employees can withstand a lower pay but not humiliation at the hands of a superior. Aggravating this issue is the fact that a lot more organizations are opting for a flatter structure where an individual may have to report to a colleague with the same official title.

Work pressures and tight deadlines are making managers less tolerant and more impulsive. Sometimes the right feedback given in the wrong manner or at the wrong place can do irreparable damage.

Role Ambiguity

An unfortunate truth about job descriptions is that they are not very accurate. It is not because employers want to mislead the candidates but due to the fact that in today’s work environment responsibilities are only loosely tied to profiles. Job aspirants often find that the work that they land up doing is not what was discussed at the time of the job interview. This gives rise to frustration and causes employees to leave their jobs.

Although employers may not be able to completely eliminate the gray areas, it is worth spending a lot more time in creating job descriptions rather than copying them from previous versions.


An obvious reason, it is difficult to retain employees when they are made offers with significant jumps in salary. Although many managers cite this as the top reason why employees leave their jobs, it is not the case; individuals today are extremely cognizant of their career graphs and don’t simply jump for more money.

Salary though critical, is seldom the sole factor in switching jobs.


Managers and organizational leaders are guilty of not paying adequate attention to this aspect. It is human nature to yearn for recognition and promotions are a clear measure. There are many cases where companies hire new talent at higher positions and neglect loyal team members.

Very few employees muster the courage to ask for a promotion as most expect their managers to recognize contributions without having to toot their own horn. When this does not happen, the left out employee leaves.

Employer Stability

The current uncertainty in global economy is having a devastating impact on organizations in every part of the world. Companies are being restructured, businesses being shut down and employees being let go. Stability has always been a key attribute of employment, but in the age of rising dependency on financial loans stability takes on mammoth proportions.

Perception is sometimes everything and when senior management doesn’t openly share strategy or clarify doubts, the unaware employee is left jittery and restless. The outcome is looking for a job a seemingly more stable employer.

It is equally difficult for an employee to change jobs as it is for an employer to hire someone new. The goal of employment should be symbiotic success where organizations enable and individuals deliver. It is utopian to hope that all jobs will last lifelong; however, a big step ahead would be for employers and employees to focus on employee retention.

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