Lack of Work-Life Flexibility Top Reason Why People Quit Their Jobs

May 7, 2015

2:00 pm

Previously, we’ve found that most people would forgo jobs with top benefits in exchange for jobs at companies that offer open and consistent communication. But what does it take to get people to actually stay long-term?

According to a recent study conducted by Ernst & Young, work-life balance has increasingly become one of the top reasons for quitting a job. The study, which took a global survey of full-time workers in eight different countries, aimed to understand the reasons why people quit, why they stay, and whether there were generational differences in their responses. Approximately 9,700 adults between the ages of 18 years and 67 years participated in EY’s survey, and came from a wide variety of companies in the United States, United Kingdom, India, Japan, China, Germany, Mexico, and Brazil.

While the EY data shows that lack of a work-life flexibility isn’t the top reason why people quit their jobs, it’s certainly among the top five overall. Looking specifically at the data from America, we find that minimal wage growth, lack of opportunity for advancement, and excessive overtime come in as the top three reasons people are likely to quit their jobs. However, this desire for work-life balance can be seen, below, with 66 percent of American respondents claiming that the inability of having such flexibility is a reason why they quit. Elsewhere, this lack of work-life flexibility is repeated – with 85 percent of surveyed Brazilians attributing their leave of employment for this lack of flexibility.

top-reasons-people-quit-jobs

(EY)

What’s really interesting about the results of this research is that “flexibility stigma” is cited as another reason why people leave their jobs (in addition to the lack of access to such flexibility). According to EY, flexibility stigma refers to the perception that those who work flexible hours or engage in other workplace flexibility practices are penalized with a lack of pay or opportunities for promotion. And, when coupled with an innate desire to advance in one’s career, you can see how this can pose a problem: flexibility and ambition are interconnected.

The study by EY also designated Millennials as “Generation Go”. According to the data they collect, Millennials globally are will to do whatever it takes to gain better access to work-life balance. The global survey showed that 75 percent of Millennials want both access to flexibility yet still have the opportunity to succeed and excel in their companies. If you need some help keeping these Millennials among your ranks, check out this guide on how to recruit and retain Millennials.

ey-millennials-generation-goYou can read the whole study by EY here.

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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