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Lack of Career Development is the Top Reason for Leaving a Job

Updated in December, 2023

For more than ten consecutive years, Career Development, or the lack of it rather, is the number one reason listed as to why employees quit their jobs. Our 2023 Retention Report once again shows the lack of Career Development opportunities is driving people to leave their jobs. If your company is struggling to prioritize or actualize their career development initiatives, contact our team of workforce experts today.

Why Are People Leaving Their Jobs?

Based on our research one out of every five employees who chose to accept a new job with a different employer in 2019 was because of Career Development concerns. Not only has it been the most popular reason for leaving for over ten straight years, but we have also seen it increase by 17% from 2013 to 2020.

When we break it down ever further, besides those workers who retired, Career Development is the number one reason for leaving no matter the age, sex or length of tenure of the employee.

Is this a “Good” Reason for Quitting Your Job?

It should be clear to organizations that their employees’ desire to grow and advance their career is of the utmost importance, but the decade long streak paints a different picture. While people’s reasons always differ and employees vs employers might not see this as a “good” reason, the numbers don’t lie. Overall employees feel that this is a justified and legitimate reason to search for new career opportunities, and as the focus on both career development and work-life balance grows in the marketplace, so does the number of people leaving their positions for this reason.

Why Career Development is So Important to Employees

Employees leave because they want to learn, grow and be challenged in their roles at work. If not challenged, they will find a job where they will be. When we probed further by asking what they meant by Career Development, some of the verbatim responses we received were:

  • “I had no growth opportunities available and that was discouraging. I was trying to get into a different department and was told I needed experience first.”
  • “I didn’t feel like I was learning or growing at the company.”
  • “I left to take a position elsewhere that offered me more growth opportunities.”

Humans in general want to learn, develop and grow intellectually. What does your organization offer in terms of development and learning opportunities? Do you know Career Development opportunities are not compromising retention at your organization?

Leverage Career Development to Improve Retention at Your Organization

Employees are aware of the need to control their careers, whether that control is with you or with a different employer. Our current job market proves employees control their destiny and as career opportunities continue to increase, companies need to assess the needs, preferences, expectations and goals of their employees. Those companies who do not will miss out on opportunities to retain the skilled workers they already have. If you would like to consult with one of the workforce experts here at Work Institute, we can help to improve career development at your company. Simply get in touch with our team today.