If you thought the Great Resignation was just an overdone buzzword, think again.
86% of EU professionals — and 76% of their US peers — plan to hand in their notice in the next 12 months. That’s according to a survey by Berlin-based people-enablement platform Leapsome of 750 professionals — mostly in IT and tech — across companies in the US and Europe.
Their primary reasons for quitting? Compensation and benefits and unfair performance reviews.
Workers in the US, and to a lesser extent in Europe, quit their jobs en masse in 2021 and 2022 amid pandemic burnout and a tight labour market that promised higher wages elsewhere. In November last year, 4.5m people voluntarily left their jobs — the 18th consecutive month of record quits in the US.
Workers’ decisions to jump ship come as employees across the world, and particularly in tech, are being axed in their thousands. Last week in European startupland, Spanish food delivery business Glovo shed 250 employees, German food delivery giant Delivery Hero lost 156 and German insurtech wefox cut roughly 50 jobs.
Leapsome’s survey, conducted in November 2022, found that a big portion of European workers plan to switch roles within the next six months, while US workers plan to switch jobs in the next 12 months.
The differences in time scale could be for several reasons.
One is that European notice periods are typically three months — in comparison to two weeks in the US — so European workers may want to switch jobs sooner than US workers, given how long the process can take from finding a new job to beginning a new role.
Also, Leapsome’s survey was conducted in November 2022 when US companies — particularly big tech firms such as Stripe and Meta — had been wracked by layoffs. Employees who kept their jobs may have chosen to stay put for the meantime, rather than face the uncertainty of the job market.
Why are people quitting?
European respondents to Leapsome’s survey cited a poor performance review process as the number one reason they wanted to switch jobs. Compensation and benefits — understandable given inflation — and work-life balance respectively were cited as the next two most important reasons for wanting to switch jobs.
Leapsome’s cofounder and co-CEO Kajetan von Armansperg says that performance reviews are essential for keeping employees engaged as they act as “a gateway to career advancement opportunities” — but they must be transparent and fair.
“If this process is murky or ambiguous or has unrealistic, shifting parameters, it can greatly harm motivation, and as a result, engagement. Particularly for ambitious younger employees at the start of their careers… a broken performance review process can be enough to look for a new job,” he adds.
Comparatively, US workers cited poor work-life balance as the top reason for leaving their current job.
The economic outlook
The majority of respondents were positive about their company’s ability to survive the economic downturn in the months ahead. Europeans were slightly more optimistic than Americans: 72.8% of European respondents said their company was "well positioned" to survive, compared to 65.6% of US respondents.
Despite this, the majority of respondents also stated that layoffs were on the cards.
Von Armansperg believes that the expectation of layoffs is another reason many are planning to switch jobs.
“Employees have little interest in a wait-and-see approach to a tech industry swelling with layoffs, and perhaps feel more confident taking things into their own hands,” he says.
“However, this probably applies most to employees already feeling disengaged with their job and unimpressed with their company culture.”
This article originally stated that WeFox had cut 100 employees, referencing data from Layoffs.fyi. This has been changed to 50 employees (roughly 3.5% of the company’s 1,450 workforce).