Employee influence grows: 43% set to quit jobs for better pay, career opportunities and flexibility

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April 2022

Employees around the world now hold more sway in the global job market, with two-fifths (43%) of respondents saying they are likely to quit in the next 12 months – driven mostly by a desire for higher total pay, better career opportunities and flexibility amid rising inflation, a shrinking labor market and an increase in jobs offering flexible working – according to the EY 2022 Work Reimagined Survey.

The survey – one of the largest of its kind – canvassed the views of more than 1,500 business leaders and more than 17,000 employees across 22 countries and 26 industry sectors. It shows that, as many countries emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, employees have gained significant influence over their employers and that their “wish list” from potential employers is changing.  

The main motivation for employees seeking new jobs, according to the survey, is now a desire for higher pay. With record inflation, in many countries around the world, more than a third of those searching for new roles (35%) say that a salary increase is their main objective, and 25% say they are looking for career growth. Forty-two percent of employees surveyed say that pay increases are the key to addressing staff turnover – but only 18% of employers agree.

Flexible working arrangements – which were by far the biggest factors leading to employee moves according to last year’s survey – are now less of a driver given that most are already working for companies that offer flexibility in some form. Only 19% are seeking remote-work flexibility from a new job, while 17% say that well-being programs would prompt them to move.

Looking at the various age groups across the countries surveyed, Gen Z employees and millennials in the US are the most likely to quit their jobs this year (53%), while across the sectors, it is those with technology and hardware jobs (60%) that are most eager to leave. 

Interestingly, the desire amongst employees to seek out new roles persists even though they hold relatively upbeat views about company culture. The number of employees who believe their organization’s culture has improved, has risen from 48% to 61% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, employers’ confidence in their own company culture has dropped from 77% to 57%. Additionally, while employees believe new ways of working have increased productivity, companies’ confidence in their own productivity is being eroded by increased turnover.

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