It’s Not in Your Head — These Are the 3 Main Reasons So Many People Are Quitting in 2021

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
April 22, 2024 at 4:40PM UTC

The long-predicted Great Resignation is well underway, with people around the world leaving their jobs in droves. The pandemic has played a huge role in this, as many workers cite the desire to work remotely as one chief reason for their resignation.

But as The Predictive Index’s 2021 People Management Report finds, wanting to work from home is hardly the only motivation. A survey of nearly 2,000 employees across more than 15 industries reveals the main reasons why so many people are quitting.

1. Burnout

The pandemic has been hard on workers, many of whom have had to work increasingly long hours and are experiencing less work-life balance as a result of working from home. This condition, characterized by extreme exhaustion and feeling emotionally and physically drained, can take an enormous toll on people’s psychological and physical health — so it’s no surprise that it’s leading workers to rethink their jobs.

Many employees also say their managers are burned out, and of those who do, 73% also say that “many” of their coworkers seem burned out as well. This is in contrast to those who don’t have burned-out managers, only 22% of whom say they have many burned-out team members. 

2. Bad managers.

The report finds that 63% of employees who have a bad manager are considering leaving their companies within the next year, while only 27% of those who say they have “good managers” are also thinking of doing so. 

Some of the skills respondents believe their managers lack? The primary ones include “effective communicator,” “drives team morale” and “asks for feedback.”

Communication proved to be the quality most lacking in bad managers, with many employees, particularly those working remotely, saying they aren’t being kept informed by their bosses.

This was even more evident among those who say their managers suffer from burnout, too.

3. Lack of flexibility and agency.

The report finds that 60% of workers are now working nearly completely onsite, but only 49% actually want to be. The lack of flexibility and choice many employees are now facing is also contributing to the mass exodus from current employers.

Among different types of workers — C-suite, executives, directors, managers and individual contributors — the managed group, those who typically have the least amount of agency, report being the least engaged as well. Meanwhile, those higher up, usually having the most agency, are more engaged.

The Great Resignation is no doubt causing many employers and managers panic. But what’s clear from the People Management Report is that there are numerous steps employers and leaders can take to encourage employees to stay, from offering them flexibility to recognizing the signs of burnout before they threaten to prompt workers to resign. 

Understanding the causes of employee discontent is the first step, and from there, employers can work to keep their workers satisfied with their jobs and work.

What's your no. 1 piece of advice for employees who are thinking of leaving their jobs right now? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

About the Career Expert:

 Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket and The Haven.

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