Are you an employer in which 50% of your organization's workforce may quit?

Being a recruiting services firm, we wondered at the end of 2017 how many people would be looking for a new job in the new year. We took this question to our various LinkedIn communities and got their feedback through our survey: New Year, New Job?, which we ran from the end of 2017 to the beginning of 2018 – a typically reflective time of year. Approximately 430 participants completed our survey, and the answer we got to this question was quite concerning: 52% of the respondents said they will actively be looking for another job in 2018!

Imagine if your company consisted of these people as employees; that means there’s a possibility of half of them leaving. As an organization, are you prepared to lose half your workforce? I know the reality of recruitment and life makes it unlikely that 50% of an organization’s workforce will quit simultaneously for another job. However, that’s not to say that it hasn’t happened. Being prepared for this exact event and understanding what it means when half your employees want to leave are two separate things. The latter is more productive.

Why are so many people looking to change employment in the new year? Based on survey responses, 75% report that they are not satisfied with their current job; that’s three out of every four people who took the survey! Although this statistic may seem shocking, it is in line with industry research (which should be even more concerning). According to a Gallup study released in September 2017, about 70% of American workers and 85% of workers worldwide report feeling disengaged at work.

What are the reasons that cause workers to feel disengaged, or in this case, dissatisfied? The chart below indicates various reasons for job dissatisfaction.


According to about half of survey respondents, company culture, management, and salary are the top reasons why employees are not satisfied with their job. This highlights another area of concern since company culture, management, and salary are basic company offerings for every job. This makes me wonder if it’s a lack of company culture and/or management that leads to dissatisfaction (which is a big issue for the overall company), or do individuals not fit in with the company culture and management approach (which points to an issue with hiring). Regardless of the issue, the fact that company culture, management, and salary are on the top of the job dissatisfaction list indicates to me that companies are not putting enough effort toward making employees feel comfortable in the workplace, supported in their path to success, valued for their contributions, and/or that they are not bringing the right people into their organization.

When framed in such a way, it becomes either a hiring or retention issue. Since the people who took the survey were asked about their current employment (assuming they are currently employed), their responses speak more to keeping an employee than hiring a new one.

So how can companies improve the level of job dissatisfaction? Let’s look at what the 25% who are satisfied with their job said.


As seen from the chart, the reasons for job satisfaction are more spread out than the reasons for job dissatisfaction. About half of the group point to a handful of reasons as to why they are happy, with the majority citing job role followed closely by flexibility and responsibilities as the main reasons. Unlike reasons for dissatisfaction, reasons for job satisfaction are more focused on the individual – the employee’s responsibilities and how he or she accomplishes them. It is no surprise that these reasons are at the top of the list; people see what they do as an extension of their identity and therefore, their happiness. This also confirms what many believe –that if you are happy with the work that you do, you will be more satisfied with your job.

Are people who are satisfied with their current job looking to leave? Based on survey respondents who are satisfied, less than 10% reported they will actively look for another job. Over 60% said they will not be looking, or are not interested in other opportunities. In a talent market where everyone is open to the next opportunity, having more than half of the people who are satisfied with their job report that they are not interested or will not be looking for a new role is a big deal. This indicates to me that there are companies out there who not only are hiring the right people to fill their positions, but are also giving their employees the support and recognition they need to want to stay in their current roles.

 Which reasons, if any, on the list of job satisfaction play a bigger role in attracting employees to stay? According to this group of respondents, job role, flexibility, and company culture are reasons why more decide to stay with their current employer. Based on this, I would say that if employees enjoy the work that they do, have the flexibility to balance their work with their personal life, and have an organization that supports them for who they are and what they do, they will not be looking for new employment. In fact, they will most likely become loyal employees who will strengthen the culture of the company and will lead the retention efforts from within.

In a highly competitive talent market, wouldn’t you like to have more of those employees in your organization?