Millions of workers quit jobs over the past year – and here's why

Millions of workers have left their job over the last year due to lack of motivation and progression, being overworked – and rude bosses.

A study of 2,000 adults found almost a fifth had left their job out of choice in the last 12 months alone, with a further 22% having done so in the past five years.

One in 10 of those have quit as recently as the last six months and an additional 16% plan to leave in the upcoming year.

Among the top 30 reasons for doing so include working hours that don’t fit with commitments outside of work, and management not being interested in staff wellbeing.

As many as 42% raised their concerns with employers before choosing to leave, but 30% of them said nothing changed as a result.

The study was commissioned by employee experience platform Edenred and also discovered what makes people want to stay in a job, including having a manageable workload, flexible hours and a supportive line manager who appreciates their work.

A quarter of those polled admitted they have stayed at their current company longer than they wanted because of the pandemic.

The commute, an outdated workplace and a simply boring job were also among the top reasons why workers have left.

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Alisdair Seenan, HR director at Edenred, said: “It’s clear from the study that the job landscape is changing rapidly and it’s likely this will continue in 2022.

“The top 30 reasons are a clear indication to employers about what they may need to change or improve in order to keep vital staff from leaving, particularly as the results show many plan to leave their job in the next year.

“We believe employers who invest time and resources to help employees deal with the challenges they may face in 2022, such as rising living costs and the pandemic continuing to disrupt the working environment, will attract and retain the best people.”

The study of adults who have ever been employed also found the ‘seven-year itch’ rings true when it comes to jobs, as this was found to be the average amount of time people stay in a role before moving onto something else.

But 43% believe there is currently a ‘great resignation’ happening in the UK with a record number of people leaving their jobs.

Similarly, 64% admitted the Covid-19 pandemic had an impact on their decision to leave their job – with half of them realising they didn’t want to stay in their current role.

A further 47% of those polled via OnePoll left their job earlier than planned due to the situation and a fifth said they realised how short life is and therefore want to do a job they enjoy.

Four in 10 know of someone, not including themselves, who left a job during the pandemic.

Although almost two thirds feel their employer supported them well through the last few months, many believe there is still room for improvements when it comes to financial wellbeing (38%) and mental health (34%).

Nine in 10 feel work/life balance is important to their happiness in a job, yet less than half believe their current company understands the importance of this.

Worryingly, only 18% agreed their employer understands the needs of employees and as few as 37% feel their boss supports them in their progression.

Alisdair Seenan added: “Many employers stepped up their support for employees during lockdown with a greater focus on employee well-being and recognition.  

“This research highlights further opportunities for employers to build on changes they have made to working patterns to retain good staff and help them thrive at work.  

“It’s a golden opportunity for good employers to stand out from the competition.”

TOP 30 reasons why people left their last job

  1. It wasn't motivating
  2. I felt overworked
  3. The management didn't care about my wellbeing
  4. I didn’t like the atmosphere
  5. The pay was less than I wanted
  6. I had a rude boss
  7. There was no room to progress
  8. It was boring
  9. It wasn’t the career I wanted
  10. I had been there too long
  11. The working hours didn’t suit my lifestyle
  12. I didn’t like my day-to-day tasks
  13. The commute was a pain  
  14. I didn’t feel welcomed
  15. I worked overtime for no extra pay
  16. There were no bonuses or perks
  17. I moved cities
  18. I didn’t get on with my team
  19. There was no training
  20. The workplace was outdated
  21. I moved further away from the place of work
  22.  I was refused holiday when I requested it
  23. They didn’t take the pandemic/lockdown seriously
  24. I got head hunted by another company
  25. I was forced to go back into the workplace after lockdown and working from home
  26. Lack of holiday days allowed
  27. They didn’t let me go part time when I asked
  28. There was no car parking
  29. I decided to go back into education
  30. I moved countries

For those who feel working at home makes them happier and more productive, The Sun explains whether your boss can reject your work from home request.

Another approach to keep employees happy and motivated is by reducing the work week to four days – here's a list of UK companies that only work four-day weeks.

With so many people struggling with their mental health as a result of the pandemic, it's more important now than ever that we discuss our worries at work.

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