People Quit Jobs For Careers, But That’s Also Why They Take Them

Aug 6, 2015

Money is important, but career opportunities trump all other reasons for changing jobs, and that’s as true in Mumbai as it is in Manhattan.

LinkedIn asked 10,532 job changers worldwide why they left their old job and what influenced them to accept their new job.

In both cases, career advancement and opportunities were the strongest influencers. In North America, 48 percent of the 5,344 respondents said, “I was concerned about the lack of opportunities for advancement.” Globally, 45 percent said the same.

Other reasons, naturally, played a role in deciding to leave. Company leadership, the work environment, recognition, and the nature of their work were all cited by at least a third of the respondents. Money and benefits came in fourth.

Influencers for job changes

However, when deciding on a new company, the compensation package was a more powerful influencer.

  • After an improved career path (cited by 63 percent in North America; 59 percent globally), money and benefits were the second most cited reasons mentioned by 60 percent of the U.S. and Canadian respondents and by 54 percent globally. Three-quarters of job changers got a salary increase in their new job.
  • Women were more influenced to change jobs by career concerns, management, and their work environment than were men.
  • Half of all women in North America cited the lack of opportunities for advancement as one of the reasons for making a job change; men cited that 47 percent of the time.
  • The disparity widened when it came to dissatisfaction with senior management, which was cited by 48 percent of the women to 43 percent of men; and by the company culture cited by 45 percent of women versus 38 percent of men.

There was little difference between the sexes on money and work challenges on job changing.

Generational differences at work

The survey results — presented in two Why & How People Change Jobs reports — include breakdowns by generational groups that show Millennials are far more active job seekers than either Gen X or Baby Boomers, and that by large percentages career advancement, money, and the nature of their work are significant job changing influencers.

Millennials globally are more likely to find their new job via websites, job boards, and social networks than are older workers, who most often cite referrals and headhunters.

LinkedIn’s global and North America reports offer suggestions for employers and recruiters to improve their talent acquisition efforts. Some of them are as obvious as strengthening referral programs. “Start every search assignment with the question: ‘Who knows my candidate?’” And, “Use LinkedIn to search connections’ connections.”

Others, though, are more nuanced, even running counter to prevailing wisdom.

For instance, with the survey showing a third of job changers changed careers entirely, LinkedIn recommends, “Be open to recruiting them. Assess how their transferable skills and accomplishments apply to your role.” And use job boards, social sites, and online career resources to attract millennials and women.

Opportunity helps close candidates

“Close candidates on career opportunity not compensation,” LinkedIn suggests. “Describe the work and expected results, not the background requirements and personality traits to be checked off.”

And with half of all respondents complaining that the biggest obstacle to making a change is not knowing what it’s like to work there, “Share content about what it’s really like to be an employee — perks, warts, and all.”

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