Why would anyone leave a well-paid job?
14th April 2016
The first thing recruiters get asked when they approach a candidate with a job is “What’s the salary?”.
Many people are unwilling to consider a job offer if it doesn’t guarantee a pay increase, and yet a lot more affects how we feel in a role than just money. Even very well paid people decide to leave jobs all the time because they feel dissatisfied, worn out or unappreciated.
Words: Judith Moffett, Director Science & Engineering, Cpl
So what are the main reasons a successful woman on a high salary would decide to leave her job?
Promises haven’t been kept
When you are offered a new job, you often get a boost of happiness and self-confidence. It’s natural to imagine yourself in the role, taking on exciting challenges, meeting new people and progressing up the career ladder. If the reality of the job doesn’t live up to what was promised at the interview stage, it’s easy to become fed up, even if you are earning more money than before. There is an emotional contract created at the beginning of every employment and it needs to be fulfilled if companies are to retain high-quality talent. This could mean anything from placing employees on suitable training courses, delegating interesting projects or allowing them to have flexible working hours as promised.
The fit isn’t right
You spend a huge amount of time at work each week – if the environment doesn’t feel like a good fit, leaving could bring about a considerable life improvement. Maybe you’re a creative type struggling to adapt to a corporate office or an introvert that feels uncomfortable at a competitive start-up? Working for a company where you can’t be yourself is exhausting. Research also shows that you’re much less likely to be successful and happy if you’re constantly struggling to connect with colleagues and fit into a work culture you don’t believe in. More and more people are willing to take a pay cut if it means being relaxed and at ease in their jobs.
There’s no flexibility
There’s a reason a Great Place to Work has been defined as “one in which you trust the people you work for”. Great workplaces retain employees because they listen to what they want and do their best to create an environment that adheres to their wishes. With one third of employees working an extra five hours per week, workplace flexibility has never been more important. Employees may choose a lower paid job if it enables a better work/life balance, whether that means working remotely or having flexible working hours. Reports continually show that prioritising free time over money makes you happier. Employers that promote ‘presenteeism’ risk losing them to more flexible companies that can offer this happiness.
You want to follow your passion
A better opportunity does not always involve money – sometimes it means getting onto the career ladder you want. You may even wish to take the experience you have garnered and start your own business from scratch. A short-term pay cut can lead to greater job satisfaction and success down the line. It could also mean you move to a company that offers a clearer path for promotion and progression. You may deem an initial pay cut satisfactory if you are guaranteed regular pay increases, bonuses, a better title and other benefits in the future.
Things have changed
Another reason senior level women sometimes decide to leave a well-paid job has to do with the mismanagement of their role following maternity leave. Over the course of 26 weeks a lot can change within an organisation – a woman might return to a slightly different job or workplace structure. The return to work can be a delicate balance for a new mother and difficulties at that point can influence whether or not she wishes to stay with the organisation.
Before you dismiss an opportunity because it doesn’t offer you a higher salary, think about the non-monetary rewards you could be reaping – the promise of a promotion, a better title, flexible working hours, professional training or the opportunity to do something you truly believe in. By opening yourself up to more opportunities, irrespective of salary, you will give yourself the best possible chance of having the career you deserve.