Survey: Why Do People Quit Their Jobs?

By Kathy Morris - Oct. 22, 2020

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What makes good employees quit?

Is it money or a new, swanky title- aka “better opportunities?” Could it be workers are seeking something deeper? Like work-life balance and a job they find fulfilling. Or maybe the old adage, “people don’t quit their job, they quit bosses” is true.

We surveyed 2,000 US workers to better understand what drives workers to quit- and just maybe, what might help them the stay.

The results? Money matters, but it isn’t the only factor that has workers polishing off their resumes.

Quick Facts

Interesting Findings

  • 42% of workers say they would never quit without a new job lined up.
  • Meanwhile, 22% are confident they’ll find another job soon if they quit, while 36% will leave regardless if unhappy.
  • The majority of workers (60%) have never impulsively quit a job.
  • 64% of workers say they think about quitting their job.
  • However 15% of workers plan on quitting in the next 3 months.
  • Massachusetts, Ohio, and South Dakota are working to live, not living to work.
  • The west coast has a real problem with their bosses- workers in California, Washington, and Oregon are most likely to leave their jobs due to bad bosses.
  • Want to retain workers in New Jersey? Offer them advancement opportunities!
  • 8 states are most likely to leave their job due to disliking the work they’re doing.

Why People Quit Their Jobs

Since most people go to work to earn a paycheck, it’s not too surprising money is a main motivator to look for greener pastures.

However, money isn’t the sole reason workers quit. In fact, over 60% of workers admit unpleasant work environment, unsupportive boss, and work they don’t enjoy will hasten their departure from a job.

Life is short, but doing work you hate with people you don’t enjoy, will make the hours of 8-5 feel a lot longer.

Other Common Reasons People Cited For Leaving Their Jobs

  • Inciting incident
  • Mental health
  • Hostile work environment
  • Physical health
  • Improved financial circumstances
  • Changes in job or workplace
  • Workplace favoritism

The most interesting response? Inciting incident. While most workers are leaving for better opportunities or due to long-term dissatisfaction, one incident can leave some workers to say, “Goodbye!”

While that inciting incident might be an unforgettable workplace confrontation, it could also be a dismissive comment or moment of disrespect. As one worker put it, “Once I realized my boss had so little respect for me, I couldn’t stay.”

We left off some uncommon but fun answers such as “hungover,” “spring break,” and the “new Call Of Duty game.” When you don’t have a mortgage or future career aspirations at your job, Panama City Beach might be all the reason a worker needs.

METHODOLOGY, a career resource website, conducted a study of 2,000 workers across the US to better why workers leave their jobs.

Each respondent was asked a series of questions about their motivations towards quitting and job history. Vermont was excluded due to sample size.

“You can’t fire me, I quit!”

Movies and tv shows often depict workers quitting as flashy, dramatic scenes.While those happen (shout out to the 40% of workers who, at one point in their life, have impulsively quit a jobs),
those aren’t the typical quitting story.

Most workers carefully plan out their departure and consider all of their options.

In fact, 42% of workers wouldn’t voluntarily leave a job without another lined up. Bills and financial responsibilities are funny that way.

Yet, even while devoted employees don’t ever thinking of quitting their job, a not insignificant number of employees think about quitting daily or weekly.

What can employers do to retain these employees? While money, the most common reason, might be a good step in retaining workers, it won’t magically fix retention issues.

Many workers leave for multiple reasons- a lot coming back to them not enjoying their job or coming into work.

It can take a lot of money to make someone smile. Companies seeking retention might find it cheaper, if more complicated, to examine the culture issues that are contributing to high turnover.

Most Common Reason For Quitting

State Most Common Reason
Alabama Money
Alaska Unpleasant environment
Arizona Bad boss
Arkansas Unpleasant environment
California Bad boss
Colorado Unpleasant environment
Connecticut No opportunity
Delaware Money
Florida Money
Georgia Money
Hawaii Unpleasant environment
Idaho Unpleasant environment
Illinois Dislike the work
Indiana Unpleasant environment
Iowa Money
Kansas Unpleasant environment
Kentucky Dislike the work
Louisiana Money
Maine Money
Maryland Bad boss
Massachusetts Work-life balance
Michigan Dislike the work
Minnesota Money
Mississippi Bad boss
Missouri Unpleasant environment
Montana Unpleasant environment
Nebraska No opportunity
Nevada Money
New Hampshire Dislike the work
New Jersey No opportunity
New Mexico Dislike the work
New York Dislike the work
North Carolina Money
North Dakota Unpleasant environment
Ohio Work-life balance
Oklahoma Unpleasant environment
Oregon Bad boss
Pennsylvania Dislike the work
Rhode Island Money
South Carolina Dislike the work
South Dakota Work-life balance
Tennessee Bad boss
Texas Money
Utah Money
Virginia Unpleasant environment
Washington Bad boss
West Virginia Bad boss
Wisconsin Money
Wyoming Bad boss

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Kathy Morris

Kathy is the head of content at Zippia with a knack for engaging audiences. Prior to joining Zippia, Kathy worked at Gateway Blend growing audiences across diverse brands. She graduated from Troy University with a degree in Social Science Education.

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