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PayScale Research Shows the #1 Reason Employees Quit is Pursuit of Higher Pay, but Money Alone May Not be Enough to Attract Talent

Study also shows women twice as likely to quit for more flexible schedules and Millennials more likely to quit for more pay than Boomers



Seattle, WA – May 14, 2019 – Today, PayScale, Inc., the leader in modern compensation data and software, released a study, called Why They Quit You, which shows the top reason employees cited for leaving their job was a bigger paycheck. However, when employees were asked what attracted them to a new position, ‘the opportunity to do more meaningful work’ was the most common response. The research shows a surprising disconnect between the motivations for workers to leave their current job and the motivations for accepting a new position. While pay is critical for employers focused on retaining their best people, pay alone may not enough to attract the best people who may be weighing all their options in the increasingly competitive talent market.


“We are currently experiencing a strong economy with record low unemployment which promotes more risk-taking amongst workers and increases their confidence about changing jobs,” said PayScale Chief Economist Katie Bardaro. “The search for more pay is a very strong driver for employees who are considering leaving, but the most interesting part of the research shows that once employees decide to leave, they also want a more fulfilling job. So, for employers looking to retain and attract the best talent, they not only need to get pay right, but must also demonstrate to employees how they will provide them with work that is ultimately meaningful.”


The PayScale research is consistent with findings from a Gallup poll which showed that a mere 13 percent of employees found their jobs meaningful. Here are some additional findings from the “Why They Quit You” report:


  • More pay is the primary driver for quitting – Twenty-five percent of respondents stated higher pay was the reason they sought new job, followed by 16 percent of employees stating: “I’m unhappy at my current organization”
  • The promise of meaningful work most likely to attract employees – When asked what attracted employees to another organization, 27 percent cited the opportunity to do more meaningful work, while 17 percent said increased responsibilities and 16 percent said increased pay was the primary driver.
  • Women more likely to quit for flexibility – Women are 11 percent more likely than men to quit their job in search of a more flexible work environment, relative to other reasons. This is consistent with gender norms where women are more likely to take time away from work to care for a child or other family member.
  • Millennials more likely to quit for money – Millennials are 9 percent more likely than Boomers to quit for more money, relative to other reasons. They are also more likely than Boomers to quit because they’re unhappy or want a promotion. However, Boomers are more likely than Millennials to quit because they want increased flexibility in their job.


PayScale recommends that employers use the most up to date compensation data to ensure they are getting pay right for both existing and prospective employees. To view the full Why They Quit You report, please visit:


Press Contact: Phyllis McNeice


Cell:  206.954.1481

About PayScale:

As the industry leader in compensation data and technology, PayScale helps organizations #getpayright. PayScale is the only technology solution for managing compensation that provides multiple streams of fresh, transparently curated, and validated salary data. Combined with modeling engines that learn continuously and generate recommendations and insight, PayScale empowers HR to price jobs and adjust compensation to reflect near real-time changes in the market — all on one trusted data platform. With PayScale’s Adaptive Compensation Advantage, teams operate with efficiency, focused on outcomes rather than manual data management. To learn how companies like The Washington Post, Perry Ellis International, United Healthcare and The New York Times rely on PayScale to attract and retain top talent, engage employees and plan their future workforce, visit

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