5 reasons your employees are looking for another job

According to PayScale’s 2014 Compensation Best Practices report, most employees quit their jobs for “personal reasons” and to earn more money elsewhere.

The rising cost of utilities, groceries, housing, and education all but guarantees most of us could use a little more cash—not a whole lot of explanation needed there.

But what about these “personal reasons?” That could mean just about anything!

Here’s what it typically means.

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Reason #1. I can’t stand working for you

When the relationship between direct report and manager goes South, it’s only a matter of time before the direct report starts looking for another gig. Working for someone with a management style you can’t appreciate is too stressful for most folks to tolerate indefinitely.

Reason #2. I’ve outgrown this position

Some people can do the same thing over and over again without complaint if the incentive is strong enough.

Others, however, need regular intellectual stimulation to stay engaged. Millennials in particular have a reputation for getting bored easily and jumping ship when something more interesting comes around, but Gen X isn’t trying to stay put just for the heck of it, either (although our mortgages might preclude us leaving as quickly as we’d like).

Also true? The last few years of economic hardship have made many of us acutely aware of the importance of keeping our skills sharp. So if your employee’s current job isn’t making her more marketable, don’t be surprised when she walks.

Reason #3. This place is a cesspool

OK, so maybe the entire organization isn’t rotten to the core, but that doesn’t matter to your employee, because all he knows is his corner of it reeks. A tyrannical boss, back-biting coworkers, uninspiring assignments, and a culture of confusion all add up to someplace your employee doesn’t care to be. And soon he won’t have to.

Reason #4. I can’t work here and be the person I want to be

When job duties interfere with your employee’s ability to be a good parent, spouse, or community member or when your employee’s personal values clash with yours, something may have to give. For your best employees, who have highly-sought talents and options, it might be their job with you.

Reason #5. I’m not going to live forever

Carpe diem, man! Whether your employee is 60 or 26, she may be getting a sense that it’s time to do something different with her life, and she’s preparing to make a move. In some cases this is a literal move across country—or even out of the country—for adventures unknown (one of my clients told me about a young staff member who saved his money and then moved from Philadelphia to Hawaii because “he’d always wanted to live there”), or perhaps your employee is thinking it’s finally time to start that business, spend more time with the grandkids, or both.

You already know this, but it bears repeating. Sometimes employee leave, and the reason has nothing to do with you. Other times, however, the reasons have nearly everything to do with you.

In any case, it’s good to be aware of some of the more common scenarios that cause employees to seek greener pastures.



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2 Comments on "5 reasons your employees are looking for another job"

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Greg Dufour

I can sympathize with this article as I have personally experienced it both from a business aspect but also working for a brother in law. I respect the person, but as for any signs of wanting to grow a business, especially wishing the automotive sector. That is another issue! Time to move on, even at 56 years old.


Companies are concerned with only one thing, getting the most work out of you for the least money. Anyone who says different is a liar. Why do many of them use illegals through temp services? Same reason. Plus they can insulate themselves from any responsibility for health care, workers comp etc. Most businesses today are just modern slave holders. Yeah yeah I know, you care about your employees. Sure.