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The secret reasons people switch jobs and how to encourage staff loyalty

A LinkedIn Talent Solutions survey has revealed the real drivers behind job switching

Understanding staff motivations in changing roles is the key to unlocking the secret of successful recruitment and retention strategies. Now one of the largest behavioural studies of global professionals, conducted with the help of 7 million LinkedIn members and 10,000+ survey respondents, has revealed the main reasons why and how people search for new roles. And the results may prove surprising.

The majority of people do not change their jobs because they are dissatisfied with their salary or the firm’s leadership style. Instead, the principal reason given by 59 per cent of staff for switching to a new job is career advancement, with 45 per cent citing lack of such opportunities as the main driving factor for leaving any role. This is according to new research by LinkedIn Talent Solutions.

Employees’ need for development and reinvention are therefore important considerations. 34 per cent of “career changers” viewed moving to a new company and role as a good way in which to revitalise a stagnant career and to improve finances. 66 per cent of “lateral movers” decided to try a new company but to stay in the same role. This is with the goal of achieving a balance between the safety of doing something familiar and the need for new experiences to aid personal growth. These results appear to highlight the value of utilising potential career changers’ transferable skills to the full, so they feel more invested in their position and in the company.

Other demographic variables such as age and gender also play a fundamental part in the decision-making process. For example, the survey suggests that different generations often look for different ways in which to advance themselves. Baby Boomers may seek a well-structured career path in return for company loyalty; Generation X-ers may seek leadership skills development; and Millennials tend to seek more collaborative opportunities. It is therefore important for recruitment and retention purposes to ensure effective marketing of the company’s universal appeal in this regard.

Another of the survey’s major findings was that women are often more likely than men to leave a job. Among the reasons given for their decision to leave were dissatisfaction with:

  • Leadership of senior management: 44 per cent of women versus 39 per cent of men
  • Work environment/culture: 41 per cent of women versus 34 per cent of men
  • Work/life balance: 26 per cent of women versus 21 per cent of men.

Being aware of the offerings of competitors and communicating a meaningful vision that emphasises the value the company places upon strong leadership, positive company culture and flexible work/life balance may thus be essential in attracting and improving retention rates among female employees.

Finally, one particularly significant output of the survey is that professionals often value smaller organisations over larger ones. Respondents believe that these organisation usually offer more interesting, varied and challenging work, greater opportunities for collaboration and personal connections, and for making a tangible difference to others. All of these factors were cited as being more appealing than remuneration (although that was still a significant consideration for many).

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