Why Is 40% Of The Workforce Still Looking To Quit Their Jobs In 2022? (Provocative!)

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The question on everyone’s mind is: Why is 40% of the workforce still looking to quit their jobs in 2022?

After the COVID-19 pandemic of 2019 to 2021, there was an expectation that people would be anxious to return to their jobs and their organisations. That, however, was far from the truth.

As the world started to emerge from two years of forced confinement and lockdowns, people were hesitant and cautious about stepping into the workforce.

Their devices became windows through which they watched sickness, death, loss of income, relationships, dignity, hopes and dreams. Fear became the order of the day.

Life as everyone knew it became unpredictable, unstable and unforgiving.

Leading this charge were the organisations that were seen as disloyal, self-serving and disengaging.

The anticipated Great Re-Turn quickly evolved into the Great Re-Signation and signalled an about-turn.

40% Of The Workforce Still Looking To Quit Their Jobs

40% of the workforce is still looking to quit their jobs in 2022 because they remain dissatisfied with the lack of career advancement, instability, inadequate compensation, disengaging leadership, weak management, low job fulfilment, unsustainable demands, insufficient flexibility and lack of support for their health and wellbeing. Employees realised that working remotely was not only feasible but also, in many circumstances, more practical and more beneficial to both workers and employers.

Talent has emerged victorious in this war. The period of pandemic proved that the demand for everyone to show up, in the same place, at the same time in the organisation was unnecessary to achieve results and profits. 

Actually, it provided an opportunity to become leaner, more cost-effective and more efficient while allowing employees to experience greater work/life balance.

McKinsey & Company’s Survey

In July 2022, McKinsey & Company published the findings from their survey of 13,382 employees in Australia, Canada, India, the United Kingdom, the United States and Singapore.

Statista referenced the survey findings in this infographic:

Statista graph on why people are still leaving their jobs in 2022

What makes the McKinsey survey results more engaging is the fact that 41% of the employees surveyed said that they were quitting because of a lack of career development or advancement NOT because of inadequate compensation.

This proves that employees want more from their jobs and workplaces. If their needs and wants are not being met they are not wasting any time sticking around.

The job market is in flux, demand is high and opportunities abound. Employees are in control.

Let me share some perspectives on the top 5 reasons why people are quitting their jobs in 2022.

RELATED > The Great Attrition Is Making Hiring Harder.

1. Lack Of Career Development And Advancement

This week, I shared some insightful and compelling discussions with 4 experienced professionals. 2 in the US, 1 in the UK and 1 in Australia.

Their ages ranged from 33 to 56 years old.

Each one expressed their frustration about feeling lost, conflicted and uncertain about the future.

They all felt that they had reached a plateau in their careers and with their current employer.


The wall that they had “slammed into” was a lack of career development and advancement. They all felt that there was nowhere to progress in their current work environment.

3 of those 4 professionals said that if they found a more engaging role and an environment that was supportive and open to their learning and growth, they would move on, even if it meant taking a pay cut.


Contrary to popular belief and assumptions, money is not the biggest motivator for most employees.

When the false narrative that is sold to us about success wears off, people want more. People NEED more!

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is much more relevant today. During the periods of confinement and loss in the C-19 pandemic, we were forced to face the reality that money does not buy happiness and fulfilment.

RELATED > Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs

2. Inadequate Compensation

36% of the employees McKinsey surveyed said that inadequate compensation was their reason for quitting or wanting to quit their current job.

It’s not as simple as that, however. We need to deep dive a little and do some Root Cause Analysis here.

The appropriate question here is: WHY do these employees feel that their current compensation is inadequate?

I feel certain that you already know the answer.

Compensation has a complicated and conflicted construct that is fed by both employer and employee. The relationship begins with both parties thinking that if enough money is placed on the table, not much else will matter.

But there are many facets to compensation:

  • Basic salary.
  • Health & Life Insurance.
  • Vacation.
  • Sick Leave.
  • Study Leave.
  • Learning, Training and Development.
  • Recognition.
  • Bonuses for producing more than expected.
  • Uniforms and other accessories.

You get the point. There is much more to compensation than meets the eye.

Becoming dissatisfied because your compensation is inadequate is much like going to a Michelin Star restaurant and not getting the quality of service and food that you expected.

Suddenly it becomes all about how much you paid for the experience and food you received.

Think about it like gift giving. You SAY that you do not give a gift to receive anything in return. BUT, if the gesture is not returned on your special day, a different thought or feeling emerges.

RELATED > What Is The Effect Of An Individual To An Organisation?

3. Uncaring/Uninspiring Leaders

This is where we start getting into organisational development and behaviour. Leadership is about who we are, how we show up at the table and the impact that we have on our employees.

  • Do you show up with chaos or calm?
  • Do you attract or repel?
  • Do you invite them in or do you allow them to walk away?
  • Do you build or break?
  • Do you contract or expand?

This is the kind of introspection and self-awareness that a leader is required to have. Your employees expect it of you and when you accepted the role, you agreed to take your employees along for the ride.

Leaders tend to forget that.

Now more than ever, employees (all over the world) are desperately looking for inspiring, enabling, facilitative, congruent leaders. That is a tall order I know but if you do not deliver to your followers they will leave and follow someone else.

During times of crisis, the majority of people are in need of care and a clear direction. They look to leaders to give them that.

RELATED > What Is The Fastest Emerging Trend In Organisational Development In 2022?

4. Lack Of Meaningful Work

The average American will spend about 90,000 hours at work – one-third of their lives (3,750 days or 536 weeks). That is a lot of time to move through the motions, be dissatisfied and have no meaning.

Our life quest is to find meaning and purpose. If we are spending one-third of our time at work, it is natural to conclude that we will be looking for some sort of meaning there.


Leaving your purpose at the doorstep when you walk into your work environment every day takes a toll on you eventually. That feeling of discontent becomes more consuming when your personal life starts to have more meaning than your work environment or what you do there.

When I gave birth to my daughter, I was in an Executive role with one of the world’s most admired conglomerates. I was responsible for people all across the Caribbean and Latin America, reporting across 7-9 countries. 

I enjoyed my work and the people I worked with but my role required me to travel frequently. One day, while watching my daughter with her Nanny, it hit me that my greater need and purpose was to be a Mum during my daughter’s formative years.

So many of her special, once-in-a-lifetime moments were missed. It was during that time I realised how much meaning she brought into my life.

3 years later I moved into a new role in a different organisation.

RELATED > Is It Acceptable To Say “Personal Reasons” As A Reason For Quitting A Job?

5. Unsustainable Work Expectations

So many of work expectations today are unsustainable that you are tempted to ask if anyone is really managing or leading at any level.

An important tool that may well be on the top of my list when it comes to this is the cellular phone. It was invented to make our lives easier and yet I cannot help but conclude that we are allowing it to throw us into the unsustainable abyss.

I worked with the CEO of a leading news and communications group of companies. She was an intelligent, accomplished middle-aged mother and wife. Much of her time though was spent wired to her work.

News happens 24/7/365. There is never any “downtime“. There are always decisions to be made, problems to solve and crises to reassemble.

Her must-have accessory was her cell phone and it never left her hands, even while trying to sleep.

Over the years, I watched her age and become reliant on over-the-counter drugs to function. She forgot what a good night’s sleep felt like. Her children became adults during her absence. Even though she may have been there physically, she was hardly showing up mentally or emotionally.

I am certain you can conclude how things turned out for her.

Employees have woken up to the fact that organisations will continue to do to them what they allow them to and, what they have been allowing is not sustainable.

RELATED > A Glass Of Water – How Daily Habits Change Your Life

Closing Thoughts . . . 

Organisations became comfortable.

Employers were not paying adequate attention.

Employees have been pushing back incongruently for a long time.

The C-19 pandemic opened the flood gates and the smell of the water became unbearable.

We are living in unprecedented times and that may never change. The world is in chaos.

Change is violent and the daily changes that are demanding our attention are unending and unnerving. To say that the future is unpredictable is far lower than an understatement.

I am of the belief that there is no single panacea available to prepare us for the current day or the future to come. Each individual has to take what they need for their own circumstances and discern what choices they need to make for their survival and their success.

You have to mix your own concoction.

READ THIS NEXT > How Can Circumstances Affect Our Choices?

About The Author

Cassandra is a Management Consultant, a University of London Alumna, an internationally qualified Facilitator, Coach, Strategist and Behaviour Change Agent. She enjoys travelling, exploring cultures and learning about historical and social networks and dynamics.

Her driving force is the education and development of her tween daughter. The roots of her inspiration to diversify her niche markets and the motivation to expand and scale her business investments rest firmly in this relationship.

This is the reason for creating her legacy. This is her life purpose.

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