Top Reasons Talented Young People Leave Their Jobs

The Harvard Business Review recently released some figures regarding the number of top-performing young people leaving positions within organizations, and the data is not encouraging.

“Researchers found that high achievers, 30 years old on average with great school and work credentials, are leaving their employers after an average of 28 months. Furthermore, three-quarters of them admit to sending out resumes, contacting search firms and interviewing for jobs at least once a year during their first employment. And 95 percent said they regularly watch for potential employers.” writes Diane Stafford of the Kansas City Star.

Most companies want to retain young employees that perform well more than anyone. So what is causing them to leave in such high numbers? The answer may surprise you.

With student loan debt quickly rising in the US, one would think money would be the priority causing these young people to leave their positions. While money is undoubtedly a factor, exit interviews reveal that it isn’t the main reason this demographic moves on.

Beth N. Carver is a consultant who has been researching exit interviews for 12 years. She claims that the two most common reasons people leave their jobs is the absence of training and mentoring. Basically, young workers want to continue to learn things. Especially top-performing young workers.

Take a look at Marissa Mayer from Google. Google is widely known to be a wonderful company to work for, and with an estimated net worth of a staggering $300 million, obviously she doesn’t need any more money. After 13 years with Google, she was never made to be part of the C-suite, after many of her contemporaries had. While immobility doesn’t directly translate into a lack of learning opportunities, it certainly does inhibit your ability to learn. So 37 year old Mayer did what so many of her accomplished young peers are choosing to do, she moved on. The position she chose to take CEO of Yahoo, will certainly afford her more learning opportunities.

This famous example just goes to show, in order to retain top young talent, we must give them the opportunity to learn and grow. Whether it be through training programs, or mentorship, the opportunity to continue to learn is a vital one for the retention of the younger members of your team. So HR pros, if you want the best of your twenty and thirty-something staff to stick around, you have to appeal to their thirst for knowledge.

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