STUDY: The Key Triggers of Job Changes

Low pay. Unfulfilling duties. Burnout. There are lots of reasons we switch jobs. But which reasons are the most significant? Our study takes a closer look…


Deciding to change jobs isn’t something that just happens out of the blue. There are all sorts of reasons that go into the decision. Some of them may be right in front of us, while some of them bubble away in the background before they become impossible to ignore.

But there are certain reasons for leaving a job that tend to be more common than others – and that’s what we wanted to try and find out more about. With that in mind, we carried out a study to find out exactly what the key triggers of changing jobs were. Check out the results, along with our own insights on the subject, below… 

How we carried out our study

We surveyed 977 UK employees to find out what the key triggers of their job changes are, which aspects of the workplace were most important to them and how much social media plays a role in their decision to change jobs.

Before we move on to the actual reasons, let’s look at those we surveyed in a little more detail…

  • 2% of the survey respondents had been working for 10 years or over. 22.4% of these respondents had never changed jobs
  • For those in the Business, Consulting & Management sector, 35.6% of respondents had changed jobs three times in 10 years
  • In the Charity & Voluntary Work sector, 28.3% of respondents had not changed jobs in 10 years
  • Hospitality & Events Management is the sector where people are most likely to stay in a job the shortest, with 35.7% of respondents leaving within a month
  • In comparison, those in the Engineering & Manufacturing sector stayed the longest in their jobs, with 31.1% of respondents staying for at least 5 years
  • The age group most likely to stay in a job for the shortest amount of time was 18–24-year-olds, with 32.3% of respondents staying under a month
  • The Marketing, Advertising & PR sector had the highest percentage of respondents who had worked in their role for under 1 year (31.8%)
  • The Engineering & Manufacturing sector had the highest percentage of respondents who had worked in their current role for 10+ years (51.1%)
  • The majority of respondents (32.3%) believe that it takes 2 years in a job for it to ‘look good’ on your CV

 

What are the key triggers of job changes?

Of the many different reasons for leaving a job, which of them proved to be the most commonly cited among our respondents?

 

 

Sitting in first place was respondents no longer enjoying the role (42.5%). Dissatisfaction with specific duties can be especially damaging to our morale and enthusiasm, which often translates into low productivity, poor work, and a lack of quality relationships with our colleagues – so it’s no surprise it’s taken the top spot in our results. When the role itself is the reason, it’s hard to see what else is worth sticking around for – and why employees across all sectors end up jumping ship.

‘A better opportunity arising’ was the next most commonly cited reason amongst our respondents, with 41.2%. In such scenarios, there might not actually be anything wrong with the current role, it’s more that the lure of a new opportunity (whether that’s more money, a stronger work culture, greater learning, and development) may prove to be too enticing.

At 32.4%, ‘low pay’ took third place, a reason that we were very much expecting to appear in our results. From our respondents, 48.9% of the Engineering & Manufacturing sector alone left for this reason. Employees who know their worth and the value they bring to a company won’t stick around for very long if they feel they aren’t being properly compensated for their hard work. As we’ll see later on, money still very much holds sway with workers across the UK. And with the ongoing cost of living crisis, it’s easy to see why.

A ‘negative work culture’ was the fourth most common reason, with 27.5%. This can cover a lot of ground; whether it’s disagreement with management, long hours, or discrimination, UK workers are settling less and less for workplaces that affect them in undesirable ways. That’s certainly clear from those in the Hospitality & Events Management sector: 46.4% of them left due to ‘disagreements with management’.

What makes people stay in a job they wanted to leave?

What about the other side of the coin? What would be enough to convince our cohort to stay in a job they weren’t especially fond of?

 

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of respondents (74.8%) said that a pay rise would be the number one reason to make them stay, with a whopping 94.4% of those in the law sector accounting for this number.

With that in mind, surely a promotion would have a similar result in our survey? Not quite, this was actually the least popular option our respondents went for, with just 35.4% of them saying they’d stay in the role for upwards movement. Reduced workload, flexible hours and working, and increased benefits all outdid being promoted as a reason for staying.

Of course, there are other factors at play when we sit down to work every day of the week. When asked what matters most about their jobs, 52.7% of our respondents opted for simply ‘enjoying your job role’. A job we can fully engage with can have a much more positive effect on us beyond the size of the pay cheque at the end of each month.

How much of a role does social media have to play in leaving jobs?

 

 

Although social media is practically everywhere and holds tremendous influence in a range of different ways, the results of our survey in this area are somewhat surprising. 85.5% of respondents said that it had no role to play in them changing jobs.

Nevertheless, out of all the industries, the Energy and Utilities sector had the most respondents saying that social media had in fact encouraged them to move on. As for directly being head-hunted through LinkedIn, only 19.4% of respondents said this had happened to them, which isn’t too surprising – opportunities to be head-hunted are hard to come by.

A larger proportion of the result came in the form of a recruiter or another business approaching our respondents with a new job opportunity (41.4%). Even so, only 9.8% of survey participants said they’d taken up the offer. Of these, it was the Marketing, Advertising & PR sector who were most likely to accept, with 31.8%. The Sales sector, on the other hand, was the most likely to turn down an opportunity in these contexts, with 61.5% of them saying no.

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