6 Reasons Modern Workers Quit

Today, HR and talent development staff often experience high employee turnover. Why is this?

Ireland and the UK lead the way when it comes to percentage of population with third-level degrees. According to a 2016 OECD report, the UK claims top spot, with 44% of its population holding a bachelor’s degree or higher – Ireland follows closely behind at 43%.

5 Reasons Modern Workers Quit

Drilling further down into this data, it’s clear financial and business-based degrees are the backbone of a university’s course offerings, with consistently above-average enrolment figures in these courses.

In 2017 in the UK, business and administrative-related degree programs attracted the highest number of students with 333,425 enrolled in these courses. In the US, the pattern continues, with the National Center for Education Statistics reporting 364,000 graduates in 2015 holding business majors; the highest figure nationally.


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The number of graduates from these types of courses won’t slow down any time soon and the pattern is the same when it comes to graduate employment. The number of positions in business and finance is rising in some regions and remaining steadily strong in others. The Irish Times reported an increase in Irish financial sector job advertisements of 45% between 2016 and 2018.

In London, there has been steady employment across the sector as reported by statistica.com, with 1.1 million people employed within the financial industry in 2018, and a rising number of financial advisors and analysts in the city. London’s financial sector provides 21.4% of its economic output.




While there are plenty of positions in finance, retention can be an issue, particularly with modern young workers. The stereotype of this generation and their careers is accurate, according to Visier, which reported modern workers are almost twice as likely to quit their job – 34.5% of “modern” employees chose to leave their jobs compared to 19.4% of more established workers.

Below are six reasons for the high exit rate of modern-day employees, with relevant research to support each point.

Reason 1: Modern workforce, modern values

In 2016, Deloitte published The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey: Winning over the next generation of leaders’, which predicted 2 out of every 3 modern workers would leave their job by 2020. In a survey ran for the report, Deloitte found that 25% of modern workers would likely leave their job within a year. 


Many modern workers marry later, have children later, are more technologically native, and are focused on finding meaningful careers. Their values differ, and naturally, so do their career patterns.

Reason 2: Recession hyper-awareness

Many modern-day workers grew up during times of recession, making them aware of the instability of even the most established companies. Some of the biggest, most successful banks in the world fell foul to the financial downturn, forcing redundancy on long-standing employees.

In an anonymous survey by fowmedia.com, one university found young professionals to be hyper-aware of the possibility of redundancy, especially during economic uncertainty. Growing up during a recession period has resulted in a generation who seek out new opportunities for fear of their current position falling victim to an economic downturn.

Reason 3: Opportunity

In 2018, the number of tech companies in London grew by 14%, while start-up investment in fintech companies in the city reached record highs – there was an 18% increase in venture capital and private equity investment. Ireland is expecting major growth in the sector. Irish fintech companies expect their turnover to rise by more than 50%.


5 Reasons Modern Workers Quit


In a period of economic growth, the opportunities available to the workforce enables those within it to shift jobs/careers easily. Modern employees aren’t afraid to move company/sector, and with several opportunities in this industry, career moves are common.

Reason 4: Flexibility matters

Working remotely is becoming more common, with 19% of employees working from home in some capacity in 2003 and 23% in 2015. Modern workers are driving this switch – 68% of modern generation job seekers are more interested in employers who allow the option to work remotely.

Working from home is an advantage to the younger cohort. Strictly office-based positions are not as attractive and may be the reason behind a move to a more work flexible organization.

Reason 5: The social revolution

The ability to find a new position has been revolutionized in recent years, thanks to tools like LinkedIn. It’s now easier than ever to apply for a job and/or look for a suitable candidate to fill a position. With 100 million job applications on LinkedIn every month, a 40% increase in LinkedIn InMail from 2015 to 2017, and 94% of recruiters using LinkedIn to vet candidates, there’s clear evidence showcasing the platform’s dominance in this area.

The modern workforce is a tech-savvy segment of the population and young people are active social media users. Forty million students and recent college graduates use the business and employment-oriented platform, giving them access to easy-to-apply-for positions worldwide and making career and role changes more accessible than ever.

Reason 6: Inadequate onboarding

Gallup found 88% of US organizations don’t perform well when it comes to onboarding, and with Glassdoor’s research showing an effective employee onboarding strategy being capable of improving retention by up to 82%, it’s clear the first few weeks of an employee’s time with an organization are pivotal.

Modern employees want to feel valued by their organization, and their onboarding process is one of the best times to create this feeling. If sufficient time and training is given, younger employees will integrate better into a company and be less likely to leave.

This generation approaches work differently. One of their goals is to find meaning and to enjoy what they do. Being aware of their perceptions of work can give you greater insight as an HR/talent development professional.

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