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Why Most People Quit Their Jobs

Topics: Career Advice

We’ve all heard sad stories of people quitting jobs to get away from gruesome bosses, unreasonable work hours, or places with weird smells, but in truth, the reasons people quit are often less dramatic – and more positive – than those horror stories might lead us to believe. A recent LinkedIn survey of over 10,000 people around the world found the reasons people quit are pretty universal.

LinkedIn surveyed people around the world and found out that they quit jobs mostly because they didn’t have room to grow (45 percent). There wasn’t room for advancement if they stuck around, even if they were great at what they did.

In the modern lifecycle of the typical worker, that’s not hard to believe. Gone are the days when you were celebrated for spending 40 years with “the company” and were sent off with a gold watch and hearty pat on the back. In fact, a certain amount of job hopping can actually be beneficial to your career, boosting your pay and giving you broader horizons than if you’d stayed put.

Other Reasons People Quit

When you look around and can’t trust the captain of the ship, that’s a problem, right? The second most common reason people quit their job was poor leadership (41 percent). Just when you think people don’t notice the bosses quietly lurking on the edge of the masthead, something like this comes out to show you how important it is to have good people in charge. Besides, if the ship runs aground, you’ll be in trouble too. Better to have a good job at a rising star of a company than, yeah we’ll say it, a sinking ship.

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The only satisfied drones are those in a beehive, not your cubicle row. Coming in about even at third and fourth in the recent survey, were quitters wanting better work culture and wanting more challenging work (36 percent for both). We respond better to jobs that are as agile as our brains. Repetition only leads to carpal tunnel, so why stay somewhere that’s going to lead to harm?

Coming in at fifth and sixth, the survey showed that 34 and 32 percent of quitters (respectively) wanted better pay and better recognition at work. It’s probably surprising that they came in so low on the scale when you hear tons of anecdotal evidence that a high-paying gig is the reason why most people leave a job. (Get a free PayScale salary report to see how much you should be getting paid at your current job.)

So next time you hear a story about someone quitting their job because they wanted to go join the circus, nod and smile at them, knowing that they likely just wanted a job that would encourage their trapeze lessons on Tuesday nights and give them something new to juggle at work. 

Want to know more about the common reasons an employee leaves their job? Check out PayScale’s newly released study Why They Quit You: Top Reasons An Employee Leaves 

Tell Us What You Think

Why did you quit a job? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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The simple answer to the percentages after I gave it some thought is that the survey allowed for people to give multiple reasons for quitting thereby scoring on 2 or more reasons why they quit their job.

Jason Remigio
Jason Remigio

Most people who quit their job didn’t mention here they were only working there to cover college expenses and needed their first career. Which is rare to see?


The percentages can add up to more than 100% if someone can list more than one reason for leaving a job.


I think the person that did this survey flunked math in school. The percentages just don’t add up…45+41+36+36+34+32 (and that is just for the top 6 reasons) equals 224%. Must be that “new math” (common core) that they are teaching in the schools these days.

Just sayin’

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