7 Reasons Why Good Employees Quit Their Jobs

employee of the month certificate on fire

Employee of the month certificate on fire | iStock.com

American workers are an unhappy bunch. Whether they’re fed up with tyrannical bosses or frustrated by low salaries, fewer than half of employees in the United States are satisfied with their jobs, according to the Conference Board’s 2015 Job Satisfaction survey. A fifth of people are so disenchanted with their current work situation they’re planning to quit in the next year, CareerBuilder found. Some of these disgruntled worker bees may be chronic complainers and slackers, but some are likely good employees who are secretly plotting their escape from the office, unbeknownst to their boss.

Turnover of any kind is expensive for businesses. Replacing a departing employee costs 21% of their annual salary on average, an analysis by the Center for American Progress found. For high-level jobs requiring specific skills, the cost of replacing someone who quits can be much greater. Considering that nearly 3 million Americans – or 2% of the workforce — quit their jobs in April 2016 alone, companies are spending a lot of money to replace employees, at least some of whom are probably star performers who might have been persuaded to stay if working conditions were different.

What’s driving good employees to seek their fortunes elsewhere? A desire to switch careers, big life changes like a move or the birth of a child, or a can’t-miss opportunity all trigger resignations. But for many people, quitting has everything to do with the job itself. From low salaries to incompetent bosses, here are seven reasons why good employees leave their jobs.

1. They’re not getting paid enough

an employee pay slip

An employee’s pay stub | iStock.com

Stagnant wages are the number-one reason people quit their jobs, a survey of nearly 10,000 working adults in eight different countries, including the United States, found. Roughly three-quarters of people said minimal or non-existent wage increases would cause them to dust off their resume, according to the survey, which was conducted by Ernst & Young.

2. They can’t get ahead

2 Broke Girls

2 Broke Girls | Source: CBS

After meager raises, not having opportunities for advancement was the second-most-common reason people had for quitting their jobs, Ernst & Young found. Seventy-four percent of people said they’d start looking for a new position if they felt they’d hit the ceiling at their current company. A slim chance of a promotion was more likely to bother parents than childless workers.

3. They’re overworked

Sad teenage girl looking out the window

Sad teenage girl looking out the window | iStock.com/max-kegfire

The 9-5 grind is a thing of the past. The average American now works 47 hours per week, according to a 2014 Gallup poll. Thirty-nine percent of people are working more than 50 hours per week, including 18% who regularly log 60 hours or more at the office. The long hours are taking a toll. Just over 70% of people surveyed by Ernst & Young said excessive overtime would cause them to quit. The most competent employees may be the most likely to be burning the midnight oil – studies have shown the best workers end up picking up the slack for everyone else, and they’re not always happy about it.

4. They hate their boss

jennifer aniston in office space

Jennifer Aniston in Office Space | Getty Images

“People don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses,” or so the saying goes. Surveys suggest this isn’t just a business cliché. Half of Americans have quit a job at some point in their career because they couldn’t stand their manager, a 2015 Gallup poll found. What makes people dislike their boss? Not being open to questions, not setting clear performance goals, and not focusing on employees’ strengths are all indications of a bad manager, according to Gallup’s study.

5. They’re unhappy with senior management


The Office boss | NBC

Sometimes management problems go deeper than a conflict with your immediate supervisor. Forty-one percent of more than 10,000 recent job changers surveyed by LinkedIn said they’d left their old job because they weren’t disenchanted with the leadership of senior management. Gen Xers and baby boomers were slightly more likely than millennials to jump ship because they didn’t see eye-to-eye with a company’s leaders.

6. They’re bored

Sleeping on the job

Sleeping on the job | iStock.com

Top-performing employees need to be challenged in their work. If people aren’t engaged creatively and don’t have a chance to develop their skills, they’re more likely to get restless and start looking for a more stimulating job. Ten percent of workers surveyed by Robert Half in 2014 said boredom caused good employees to quit. Young people were especially likely to switch jobs because they wanted more challenging work, according to the LinkedIn survey. Forty-three percent of millennials who’d recently changed jobs said they’d done so because they wanted to push themselves in their career.

7. Their accomplishments are ignored


Office Space | 20th Century Fox

Fewer than a third of people feel strongly valued at work, a survey by TINYpulse, which helps companies monitor employee engagement, found. A lack of recognition is driving people to look for work at companies that trumpet their employees’ successes. Thirty-two percent of recent job changers surveyed by LinkedIn said they’d moved on because they didn’t feel their contributions were being recognized or rewarded.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!