Yes, people really do quit jobs for more money

PayScale’s 2015 Compensation Best Practices Report (CBPR) noted two primary reasons people quit their jobs last year: personal reasons (family, marriage, health, school, etc.) and “seeking higher pay elsewhere.”

A new baby, health challenges, a desire for more education, or a partner’s great new job across the country are all common catalysts for making a job change, it’s true. And generally speaking, that decision is completely unrelated to the employee’s work conditions (and therefore outside of the employer’s control).

However, the same can’t be said when an employee quits for more money. And according to the CBPR, money is the main reason people leave medium and large companies.

Money matters

Since the beginning of time, human beings have had to work and have sought meaning in their work. That’s why it takes more than a healthy paycheck for employees to be happy on the job and why all the talk about how money doesn’t motivate employees to higher performance rings true.

However, it would be a mistake to conclude that if more money doesn’t make employees work harder, money isn’t central to employee job satisfaction. Money still talks. Money confers value, and the right money makes less-than-ideal work situations tolerable, at least for a time.


Plus let’s face it. An employee may love his boss, his job tasks, his coworkers, and most all conditions of his employment, but if he’s not making enough money to meet his financial goals, he’ll eventually move on for greener pastures. He has to. Employees will also say yes to that next gig when their current compensation is too little for the effort the job requires.


Survey says …

But what about all those surveys claiming people quit jobs first and foremost for reasons unrelated to compensation, and therefore money is far less important than we think?

Well, to that I say “no way.” Here’s why.

First, does anyone truly believe advancement opportunities are unrelated to the desire for more cash? Pulease.

Second, a rotten boss, boring job tasks, awful coworkers, stress, etc. are all good reasons people want and will begin exploring job openings, and when those employees reflect on their decisions, these are most likely the reasons they’ll cite.

But wait. No matter how much an employee wants a new job, he or she probably won’t accept another offer until the money is right. And that makes compensation a significant factor in the decision-making process nearly always, regardless of the official survey results.


Half of employees view their job as a “temporary growth opportunity”

Now that the economy is picking up, more people have quit their jobs than in the past six years. In fact, a recent Jobvite survey found that “50 percent of employed job seekers see their current position as a placeholder” and that 61 percent rank compensation as “the biggest impact on [their] decision to take a new job.” This is particularly true for younger workers.

The moral of the story? Now more than ever, employers can’t afford to believe workers don’t care about money and won’t quit in pursuit of it. What’s more, whether compensation is a primary driver of voluntary turnover, a related factor, or a crucial concern is of less importance than the fact that it’s an inherent part of the mix.


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