Why your staff might be looking for work

We speak to a high number of candidates every day at all levels of business.  As recruiters, the first thing we will probably ask is, ‘Why are you looking for work?’  Of course redundancy or the threat of it is a common reason for being on the market, but it certainly isn’t the only reason why employees might start to think the grass might be greener elsewhere.  We thought it might be interesting to take a look at some of the other reasons we commonly hear – businesses that turn over a lot of staff are often overlooking something very simple that could make all the difference to whether their employees are satisfied or not.

Unhappy staff?  Why they might be looking to leave.

  • I have outgrown my current role, and there is nowhere to progress to.  There is a genuine correlation between workplace happiness and being challenged.  It can be difficult in smaller teams for the most capable employees to grow and develop as much as they’d like to – so if there isn’t a clear path into a more senior role, or diversify their skills, they might feel restricted.
  • I feel like the role was mis-sold to me.  We often hear this from candidates that have not been in their position for very long.  Great promises have been made at interview of interesting project work, cutting edge technology and fast progression, and the company has failed to deliver on any of these – consequently the candidate wants to get out before their probationary period is completed in order that they don’t have to give a lot of notice.
  • I don’t feel like I’m getting the recognition I deserve.  Lack of recognition can really have an impact on employees’ motivation and self-esteem – if they don’t feel they are being adequately rewarded for their work, they will start getting itchy feet.
  • I’m bored.  We hear this quite a lot!  Usually the candidate has become bored because their job has become very repetitive or the work just isn’t as interesting as it used to be, and they feel like they need a change.
  • I’m worried that my skills are becoming outdated.  Employees become concerned if they are not given the chance to bring their technical skills up to date – if the worst happens and they lose their job, it makes it more difficult to find another role as there will be fewer and fewer opportunities where their outdated skills will be of any use.

You’ll notice that there is no mention of ‘I want more money’ here – to be honest, we hear this so rarely that it certainly doesn’t warrant a place on this list!  The decision to move on is hardly ever just financial, in fact many candidates that state one of the reasons above as one of their main motivators will move for a similar salary.

It is worth mentioning that our second question would probably be… “Have you tried talking to your employer about this?”  Some candidates will openly discuss their dissatisfaction but most of them probably won’t.  It’s a difficult conversation for them, and they will inevitably be worried that complaining will get them into trouble or even speed up their exit.  Much better to keep the channels of communication open before it gets to this stage – otherwise you might find yourself hastily trying to put together a counter offer to persuade them to stay.

At this point, I’m afraid, we’d have to encourage them not to accept it – why has it taken their resignation to get you to notice that they aren’t happy?