Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

The truth about why people leave their jobs – and why it’s not what most employers think

Younger workers, LGBT employees and ethnic minorities more likely to leave employers in the dark over the reason for their departure

More than a quarter of British workers (27 per cent) have lied to their bosses when they leave their job – and that figure rises to 40 per cent for younger workers (aged 18 to 34), 36 per cent for LGBT workers, 37 per cent for those from an ethnic minority background and 43 per cent for workers with a long-term health condition.

New research released today by global recruitment specialist Michael Page also reveals the real reasons workers in the UK quit their jobs – and negative workplace culture, leading to employees feeling excluded, is a major factor.

According to the study of more than 2,000 British workers, one third (32 per cent) leave jobs because they didn’t think they were being paid enough, a fifth (21 per cent) didn’t feel valued in the workplace and 15 per cent said their job negatively impacted their mental health. Not fitting in or feeling included were also cited as a reason for quitting by one in ten (9 per cent).

Sheri Hughes, UK Diversity & Inclusion Director at Michael Page, commented: “It’s evident that organisations are not doing enough to ensure their employees feel valued or included, with so many workers being embarrassed or unwilling to admit the real reason they’re leaving a job.”

“Having a distinct inclusion policy in place should be a priority for businesses of all sizes to efficiently attract and retain top talent. We’re on a mission to help companies understand how they can improve these policies and mitigate the risk of losing talented employees,” she said.

A clear policy can help employees feel included and dispel negative or discriminatory attitudes. But according to the study, almost half of workers (45 per cent) said their company did not have a specific policy on inclusion and more than half (58 per cent) said they didn’t think their company prioritises diversity and inclusion.

To help employers understand how best to implement an effective inclusion policy and feel valued in the workplace, Michael Page has worked with Dan Robertson from VERCIDA Consulting, a global diversity and inclusion expert. Together they have created an Inclusivity Mapper, which allows businesses to see how they fare against others in their industry on topics from leadership to culture and get tailored advice on areas that need improvement.

Dan Robertson said: “While many organisations have focused on the “Diversity” aspect of D&I, too many are still burying their heads in the sand when it comes to inclusion. This is not beneficial for businesses or their employees. What’s clear is that negative cultures are having a significant impact on companies around the UK, and workers are leaving as a result.”

He continued: “There are a number of measures business can take to foster an inclusive culture. The starting point is the organisational leader followed by the line manager. I'd urge all leaders and managers to pause and reflect on the implications of these finding for their own businesses.”


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Opinium. Total sample size was 2,012 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken in March 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).