Why workers leave their jobs

An orchestra conductor unifies the performers, sets the tempo, communicates with clear signals and gestures, and critically listens to create the overall big picture. However, it’s the musicians down in the trenches of the orchestra pit who are churning out the individual notes that, taken collectively, craft the composition.

The same scenario is somewhat true in the boss/worker relationship, which is why finding and retaining great employees is crucial to a smooth running business.

Yet, that’s not always an easy task to pull off. So, why do talented workers leave?

In 2016, Paychex – which provides payroll, human resource and benefits outsourcing services for businesses – released a survey of 2,000 U.S. workers that examined why employees leave a job.

Not surprising, pay was the No. 1 reason people said they left a job. Slightly more than 69 percent of those surveyed said low salary was the main motivator for them to move on to new adventures. Another majority, 63 percent said they had left a job because they felt overworked. Just more than 50 percent cited an employer’s disregard as a reason to quit.

On the other end of the spectrum, fewer than 20 percent of respondents said they left because their employer didn’t match their 401(k) contributions or because they sensed layoffs were on the way.

All three generational categories – baby boomers, Generation X, and millennials – ranked a low salary as a top reason to leave, but millennials put more importance on salary, with 70.82 percent of those surveyed marking it as a reason they quit.

So, what makes workers stay?

The survey found that good bonuses, paid sick days, work-from-home days, flexible schedules and quality health care are all good ways to keep employees happy. Baby boomers and Generation X ranked inexpensive, quality healthcare as highest. The top reason to stay for millennials was better bonuses.

74 percent of the people surveyed had seriously considered leaving a job, while 46 percent of those actually left. Baby boomers were the most likely to stay, while Generation X was the most likely to go.

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