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What has caused the ‘Great Resignation?’

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Stressful businessman quit a job with resignation letter.

By Alice Hughes, 72Point

Millions of workers have left their job over the last year due to lack of motivation and progression, being overworked - and rude bosses.

A study of 2,000 adults found almost a fifth had left their job out of choice in the last 12 months alone, with a further 22 percent having done so in the past five years.

One in 10 of those have quit as recently as the last six months with an additional 16 percent planning to leave in the upcoming year.


Among the top 30 reasons for doing so include working hours that don’t fit with commitments outside of work, and management not being interested in staff wellbeing.

As many as 42 percent raised their concerns with employers before choosing to leave, but 30 percent of them said nothing changed as a result.

The study, commissioned by employee experience platform Edenred, also highlighted what made people want to stay in a job, including having a manageable workload, flexible hours and a supportive line manager, who appreciates their work.

A quarter of those polled admitted they have stayed at their current company longer than they wanted because of the pandemic.

The commute, an outdated workplace - and a simply boring job - were also among the top reasons why workers have left.

Alisdair Seenan, HR Director at Edenred, said: “It’s clear from the study that the job
landscape is changing rapidly and it’s likely this will continue in 2022.

“The top 30 reasons are a clear indication to employers about what they may need to change or improve to keep vital staff from leaving, particularly as the results show many plan to leave their job in the next year.

“We believe employers who invest time and resources to help employees deal with the challenges they may face in 2022, such as rising living costs and the pandemic continuing to disrupt the working environment, will attract and retain the best people.”


The study of adults also found the ‘seven-year itch’ rings true when it comes to jobs, as this was found to be the average time people stay in a role before moving onto something else.

But 43 percent believe there is currently a ‘great resignation’ happening in the UK with a record number of people leaving their jobs.

Similarly, 64 percent admitted the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on their decision to leave their job - with half of them realizing they didn’t want to stay in their current role.

A further 47 percent of those polled, via OnePoll, left their job earlier than planned due to the situation and a fifth said they realized how short life is and therefore want to do a job they enjoy.

Four in 10 know of someone, not including themselves, who left a job during the pandemic.

Although almost two thirds feel their employer supported them well through the last few months, many believe there is still room for improvement when it comes to financial wellbeing (38 percent) and mental health (34 percent).


Nine in 10 feel work/life balance is important to their happiness in a job, yet less than half believe their current company understands this.

Worryingly, only 18 percent agreed their employer understood the needs of their employees and, as few as 37 percent, feel their boss supports them in their progression.

Alisdair Seenan added: “Many employers stepped up their support for employees during lockdown with a greater focus on employee well-being and recognition.

“This research highlights further opportunities for employers to build on changes they have made to working patterns to retain good staff and help them thrive at work.

“It’s a golden opportunity for good employers to stand out from the competition.”


1. It wasn’t motivating
2. I felt overworked
3. The management didn’t care about my wellbeing
4. I didn’t like the atmosphere
5. The pay was less than I wanted
6. I had a rude boss
7. There was no room to progress
8. It was boring
9. It wasn’t the career I wanted
10. I had been there too long
11. The working hours didn’t suit my lifestyle
12. I didn’t like my day-to-day tasks
13. The commute was a pain       
14. I didn’t feel welcomed        
15. I worked overtime for not extra pay
16. There were no bonuses or perks        
17. I moved cities
18. I didn’t get on with my team
19. There was no training
20. The workplace was outdated
21. I moved further away from the place of work
22. I was refused holiday when I requested it
23. They didn’t take the pandemic/lockdown seriously
24. I got headhunted by another company
25. I was forced to go back into the workplace after lockdown and working from home
26. Lack of holiday days allowed
27. They didn’t let me go part-time when I asked
28. There was no car parking
29. I decided to go back into education
30. I moved countries

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