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Top Five Reasons People Are Leaving Their Jobs

Whenever we write an article now, we always think we need to clarify pre-and-post COVID as the pandemic has changed the job landscape significantly, and we will be feeling the impact long into the future. Previously, motivations for leaving a role were near always for the five reasons below, notwithstanding unforeseen circumstances. Fundamentally, these reasons have been relatively static for over a decade despite the constant shifting demands of the job market over these years.

Traditional reasons for job changes:

1. Poor Management

2. Money

3. Career Progression

4. New Challenge

5. Poor Company Values

The impact of COVID has forced businesses to completely reshape and rethink the structures and workings of their employees. From a positive perspective, companies are in a position where they must place their absolute trust in teams to work with autonomy and diligence whilst not being overseen in an office. Feedback from the market suggests this injection of flexibility for employees has been hugely beneficial. While there are elements of camaraderie missing from an office environment, it has created a seismic shift in values and motivations for finding new roles which are unlikely to revert once the pandemic is over – don’t worry, it will eventually be over!


Most of 2020 has deprived families of visiting and spending time with one another. Previously taken for granted, going to the pub for a Sunday lunch with parents is currently a thing of the past, and the importance of family is more significant than ever to many. The shift to remote working is creating opportunities for families to live and work near each other, out of the rat race of the city. As such, the most significant reason for Employees to be seeking new roles is to relocate closer to families. Companies are recognising that remote working has created a vast pool of talent previously untapped, allowing people in more rural areas to apply for city roles that were once non-commutable.

2. Culture

Whilst a healthy work environment has always been in the mindset of employees when applying or accepting a new role, it has only recently become a motivating factor for leaving a job. Toxic cultures have invaded peoples homes, and companies with poorly defined culture and values have struggled. Employees are actively engaging in finding new roles that align with their values and priorities, for example, flexible working for the school run, ensuring that meetings are collaborative, training and personal investment for the future, products with a purpose.

Culture was never the occasional free lunch or an epic Christmas party, but some thought it was these social perks. Now candidates know to ask about the values, ethics, purpose and mission of a company, and it is these that attract the best prospective employees. By clearly outlining this framework, people are confident in seeking out new opportunities that offer demonstrable company culture leading to positive morale, increased productivity and a lower turnover of staff.

3. Career Progression

Career progression has always been a massive motivator in people leaving their jobs. While the recent pandemic has affected many sectors, there have been high growth sectors that are thriving and offering many the opportunity to take the plunge and apply for roles that offer more responsibility.

Some companies have realised the importance of one to ones and personal development plans during this time. Those that have not invested in their teams face the prospect of losing valuable employees in their desire for career progression and recognition. Many have had to take on additional responsibilities within their teams due to internal freezes, and this has given potential employees the courage and experience to explore new opportunities.

Simultaneously, sectors that have not been affected by COVID are creating job opportunities for those seeking a step into a new managerial or lead/senior position enabling many candidates to re-evaluate their careers and apply for promotion externally.

4. Security

IR35, COVID and Brexit have brought into question for many, ‘how safe is my job.’ The Levels of uncertainty this year have been unprecedented. As a result, a key motivator for leaving a job is the security and prospects of the company. The impact of IR35 and COVID is causing many excellent contractors to seek permanent positions, not only flooding the market in certain sectors and skills but also dramatically changing the salary bandings for typical roles. Furthermore, we have seen overseas companies freeze or relocate many of their staff and offices to Europe until further enlightenment on Brexit, leading people to leave their roles for companies deemed more economically secure.

The recent furlough schemes have shined a light to many on the viability and sustainability of the company they work for resulting in many candidates considering a pre-emptive move for the future.

5. Redundancy/Re-Structures

According to the ONS, in the three months to September 2020, redundancies reached a record high of 314,000; a record increase of 181,000 on the previous quarter. Whilst no one ever wants it as a reason for looking for a new job, redundancies and re-structures in the UK are one of the most driving factors for people leaving their jobs in 2020. Many people are using this as an opportunity to evaluate their next career move.

As we happily turn our backs on 2020, the reality is that people and companies alike have been pushed to entirely re-assess their futures. While the levels of uncertainty have thoroughly impacted our daily lives, we can see positives emerging through this bleak year. Without lockdown, the reality is that companies would never have so speedily changed their mindsets about remote working. This has led to fundamental shifts in attitude to not only company culture and values, but also in trusting and supporting employees in having a better and indeed achievable work-life balance that has not been seen to this extent before. Although times have been hard for the whole of the country, job seekers should look ahead to 2021 and potentials it can offer.


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