These Are The Top Three Reasons People Quit Their Jobs

Forget work-life balance: These other factors have more of an impact on retaining employees.

These Are The Top Three Reasons People Quit Their Jobs
[Photo: Flickr user Cory Doctorow]

We know that most Americans don’t like their jobs, and that’s causing plenty of people to quit (or at least start looking elsewhere).


A new study from Glassdoor offers a more in-depth look at exactly what motivates people to quit their jobs. Based on analysis of resumes of more than 5,000 workers who changed jobs in the last nine years, researchers identified several trends. Some trends seem obvious, such as people quitting to work at another company or getting a raise when they make a move. But what didn’t factor into employees’ decisions to leave (work-life balance) is more surprising.

After examining these trends, Glassdoor’s statistical analysis surfaced the three factors that matter most for employee retention:

  1. Company culture
  2. Employee salary
  3. Getting stuck in the same job for long periods of time

Glassdoor’s chief economist Andrew Chamberlain and data scientist Morgan Smart say it’s not surprising that good company culture makes people want to stay at a workplace (just think of the reputation of some of the top places to work like Google and Facebook).

As for just how much money it takes to keep employees happy, they write, “On average, we find that a 10% higher base pay is associated with a 1.5% higher chance that a worker will stay at the company for their next role.”

Finally, Glassdoor’s analysis revealed that for each additional 10 months a worker gets stuck in the same job, there’s a 1% higher chance they’ll leave the company for their next role, which the researchers say is a statistically significant impact.

By contrast, they found that while work-life balance, liking their senior leadership, and benefits may matter for overall employee satisfaction, they don’t impact turnover. That’s an interesting comment on the American workforce right now. For all the reports on the importance of work-life balance, it’s company culture, money, and the ability to progress that reign supreme.

About the author

Lydia Dishman is a reporter writing about the intersection of tech, leadership, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.