The 5 Different Types Of Job Quitters, Explained

PHOTOGRAPHED BY NICOLAS BLOISE
When I picture someone quitting their job, I visualise a disgruntled worker, tie askew, rage quitting across a table from their boss. But leaving a job isn’t always that dramatic — especially in the era of The Great Resignation or The Great Attrition. Whatever you want to call it, it’s clear that people are leaving their jobs in droves
McKinsey & Company recently released research about this, finding that the number of people planning to quit their job hasn’t changed since last year, with 41% of Australians saying they were thinking about leaving their job in the next three to six months.
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Cultural shifts — the end of the girlboss era, the embracing of flexible work and a reimagining of career goals — have contributed to this drastic change. 

So why are people quitting?

McKinsey & Company surveyed more than 13,000 employees in six countries, including Australia, and found their top reasons for quitting. 41% of respondents pointed to the lack of career development and advancement as their main reason for leaving. Inadequate total compensation (36%), uncaring and uninspiring leaders (34%), lack of meaningful work (31%) and unsustainable work expectations (29%) closely followed. 
Behind these, about a quarter of people cited unreliable and unsupportive people at work, lack of workplace flexibility (the availability of which is also a top motivator and reason for staying), and the lack of support for health and wellbeing as their main motivation. 

What are the five personas of quitters?

The study categorised five different personas of quitters: the traditionalists, the do-it-yourselfers, the caregivers, the idealists and the relaxers. By fleshing out employees' unique needs and pain points of employees, we can learn more about modern workplace expectations. 

The traditionalist

A traditionalist worker is your conventional, 9-5 employee who is career-oriented. They typically work full-time for large companies and value competitive compensation packages, a good job title, status and career advancement.
McKinsey & Company found that these types of workers are more risk-averse, meaning they’re less likely to quit without another job lined up (and would likely be won over by a higher salary).
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The do-it-yourselfer

A do-it-yourselfer values workplace flexibility, meaningful work and compensation as the main reasons for joining the traditional workforce. The majority of those surveyed fell into this category, and tended to be between 25 and 45 years old. The type of work do-it-yourselfers find themselves in varies from self-employment to full-time employment and nontraditional and part-time work.
Flexibility is highly sought after by this group and many have dabbled in side hustles. For employers wanting to keep a hold of them, they should respect their autonomy, encourage meaningful work and provide a competitive compensation package.

The caregiver and others

While many workplaces have trialled WFH models, caregivers (and others) rely on workplace flexibility to manage their out-of-work duties which include support for their own, and their children or parents’ health and wellbeing. 
This group is dominated by women aged between 18 and 44 who seek workplaces that provide a pathway to advancement without sacrificing renumeration or their caregiving duties. McKinsey & Company suggests that part-time options, four-day workweeks, flexible hours, expanded benefits packages and normalising and widening the use of parental leave can help these workers stay in their place of employment.

The idealist

An idealist is someone who appreciates flexibility, career development, meaningful work, and a community of reliable and supportive people above all. This group is largely made up of Gen Zs aged between 18 to 24 who don’t have financial and emotional responsibilities like dependents and mortgages. 
For idealists, compensation is less of a draw card, while ‘belonging to an inclusive and welcoming community’ was ranked more highly than any other persona.
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The relaxer

Typically a retiree, a relaxer may have ready completed a traditional career but may be tempted back into the workforce by meaningful work or compensation. McKinsey & Company say that organisations shouldn’t look past this underused community and potentially rehire past employees.
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Whether you're thinking about quitting your job, changing industries or figuring out a work slump, it's certainly nice to know that you're not alone. And figuring out what potential quitting persona you fit into can help you determine your next steps.
Quitting your job has become more normalised than ever. Quitters almost never look like red-faced workers storming out of their workplace with a cardboard box full of miscellaneous stationery — a quitter can look like a woman taking time off to care for her parents, a go-getter pursuing their hobby as a full-time job, or Gen Z eagle-eyed on their career development. And any of them is totally fine.
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