43% of Employees Set to Quit for Better Pay, Opportunities, Flexibility

Employees around the world hold more sway in the global job market, with two-fifths (43 percent) of respondents saying they are likely to quit in the next 12 months – driven mostly by a desire for higher 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 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 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 percent) say a salary increase is their main objective, and 25 percent say they are looking for career growth. Forty-two percent of employees surveyed say pay increases are the key to addressing staff turnover – but only 18 percent of employers agree.

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

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

Interestingly, the desire among employees to seek out new roles persists even though they hold relatively upbeat views about company culture. The number of employees that believes their organization’s culture has improved, has risen from 48 percent to 61 percent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, employers’ confidence in their own company culture has dropped from 77 percent to 57 percent.

Fifty-eight percent of employer respondents agree it is important to have a strategy in place to match talent and skills to future business needs; and 74 percent say they are prepared to hire employees from other countries and allow them to work from anywhere if their skills are critical or scarce.

Despite the continuing shift towards flexible working models, 22 percent of employer respondents say they want employees to come back to the office five days a week. Although reluctance to work remotely among employees has fallen (from 34 percent to 20 percent) most employees (80 percent) say they want to work remotely at least two days per week.

The survey reveals a large population of “optimist” employers (32 percent) are managing to improve culture and productivity. It shows they are achieving this by ensuring their leaders have a shared understanding of company issues, external practices and strategies (94 percent).

Other factors cited by this group of businesses as drivers of their success include hybrid work (90 percent), investing in on-site amenities (39 percent), enhancing workplace technology (45 percent) and giving employees more empowerment and autonomy (44 percent).

The EY 2022 Work Reimagined Survey is the latest and largest in a series of surveys comparing employer and employee perceptions since 2020. It compares the views of thousands of respondents, and the insights are meant to help businesses to create a sustainable workforce that helps them drive business growth, meet customer needs and generate long-term value.