top of page

Why people are quitting work - and what they really want...

Updated: Sep 3, 2022

People keep resigning at record levels, yet companies are still trying to attract and retain them the same old ways.

People are reshuffling, reinventing and reassessing. They are switching jobs and industries, moving from traditional to non-traditional roles, retiring early, starting their own businesses, or even taking time-out to tend to their personal lives and embark on a sabbatical.

In their recent study of ‘The Great Attrition’, research from McKinsey indicated a fundamental mismatch between companies’ demand for talent and the number of workers willing to supply it. There is now a structural gap in the labour supply because there aren’t enough ‘traditional’ employees to fill all the openings.

The McKinsey research identifies five types of non-traditional workers that employers can reach to fill jobs:

  1. Traditionalists – career-oriented people who care about work–life balance but are willing to make trade-offs for the sake of their jobs.

  2. Do-it-yourselfers – autonomy-driven people who value workplace flexibility, meaningful work, and compensation as the top motivators for potentially returning to the traditional workforce.

  3. Caregivers and others – at home but wanting more, these people are motivated by compensation but have another constellation of priorities for returning to their jobs: workplace flexibility, support for employee health and well-being, and career development.

  4. Idealists – mainly students or part-time workers, these people tend to be unencumbered by dependents, mortgages, and other responsibilities. They emphasise flexibility, career development and advancement potential, meaningful work, and a community of reliable and supportive people, with compensation far lower on the list.

  5. Relaxers – a mixed group that represents the largest segment of the latent workforce, these people include retirees, those not looking for work, and those who might return to traditional work under the right circumstances.

But what I found to be most interesting from this research were the push and pull factors identified. The motivating factors that keep people in their jobs and the demotivators that drive workers away.

Of the 12 top reasons for quitting a previous job, the respondents from McKinsey’s 2022 Great Attrition survey placed lack of career development and advancement first. This was followed by inadequate total compensation and uncaring and uninspiring leaders.

Some fascinating food for thought that I’m discussing with my clients as they think about their employee engagement and retention and where opportunities exist for development activities that are purposeful, practical and importantly proportionate – to the task required and resources available.

Read the article from McKinsey in full here

9 views0 comments


bottom of page