Looking for Greener Pastures: What Workplace Factors Drive Attrition?

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June 8, 2021

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Key Findings

  • Attrition, the loss of employees to turnover, retirement or layoffs, is a critical challenge for workforce management. Our research uses a unique dataset, combining 141 million employee transitions from Revelio Labs and 5.9 million reviews from Glassdoor to offer a powerful window into employee behavior across 124,000 employers in the United States.
  • Employee perception of six-month-ahead Business Outlook is the strongest driver of attrition. Ratings for growth-based workplace factors like Compensation & Benefits and Career Opportunities are also important.
  • Even though experience-based workplace factors like Culture & Values ratings and Work-Life Balance ratings are important determinants of overall employee satisfaction, they are weaker predictors of attrition. This is likely because while they determine the day-to-day employee experience, more durable factors like compensation or career growth often drive employees to make the leap to a new job.
  • Attrition for different groups of employees are driven by different factors. For example, Work-Life Balance is a stronger predictor of attrition for women than men. And Compensation & Benefits is particularly important for Gen Z and millennial workers who are currently in the period of their careers where they’ll experience the fastest pay growth.
  • For transitioning employees, we find a surprising persistence in satisfaction across their source and destination companies. While there is strong regression to the mean, employees tend to end up in companies with more similar values to their previous companies.
  • We find evidence that this persistence may be because (1) competing employers have similar talent practices, (2) employees at lower-rated companies have less market power, and (3) employees tend to match to employers that focus on workplace factors they value.

See the full Glassdoor Economic Research report, Looking for Greener Pastures: What Workplace Factors Drive Attrition?, for an in-depth analysis of what factors drive attrition.

For employers, managers and HR experts looking for advice on turning these findings into action, check out Glassdoor’s guides on retention: 5 Ways to Retain Your Top Performers and Here’s What Your Turnover and Retention Rates Should Look Like.

For job seekers and employees who want to learn more about companies, explore our data yourself by browsing reviews for individual companies, searching for jobs, or by comparing companies directly.

This study was written in collaboration with Revelio Labs, a leading workforce intelligence provider.