Why Do Workers Quit? The Factors That Predict Employee Turnover

Dr. Andrew Chamberlain

February 15, 2017

People change jobs and companies many times during their lives. When moving to the next role, some workers stay while others leave for a new employer. What factors predict employee retention? Study Highlights:
  • This study uses more than 5,000 real-world job transitions from resumes on Glassdoor to study the factors that predict whether an employee will stay or go when moving on to the next role in their career path.
  • Our statistical analysis shows company culture matters for employee turnover.
    • Employers with better overall company ratings, career opportunities ratings, and culture and values ratings on Glassdoor are more likely to retain employees when they progress to their next role.
    • Improving a company’s overall Glassdoor rating by one star raises the odds that a typical employee will stay for their next role by 4 percent.
  • Pay also matters for employee turnover. We find that a 10 percent increase in base pay raises the likelihood by 1.5 percent that the average employee will stay inside the company when moving to their next role, even after statistically controlling for factors like job title, industry, company size and location.
  • Finally, we find that job title stagnation hurts employee retention. Every additional 10 months an employee stagnates in a role makes them 1 percent more likely to leave the company when they finally move on to their next position.
  • Three workplace culture factors had no impact on turnover: work-life balance, senior leadership, and compensation and benefits ratings. Although these factors matter for overall employee satisfaction, they don’t appear to matter much for employee turnover.
  • Some causes of employee turnover are beyond the control of employers. But some are not. Specifically, our findings suggest improved workplace culture, competitive base pay, and regular employee advancement into new roles is clearly associated with lower employee turnover.
To learn more, read the press release or visit the Glassdoor Blog. For employers, learn more by visiting the Glassdoor for Employers Blog. To receive new research and regular labor market updates, subscribe to the Glassdoor Economic Research blog and newsletter updates.

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