Most workers are thinking of quitting. The real surprise is what's forcing them to leave

Employees want to develop their skills, but employers are holding them back.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
Worried woman working at her computer
Image: Getty Images/10'000 Hours

Riding the coattails of last year's Great Resignation, employees are demanding more out of their employers than ever. But according to an external survey conducted by Amazon, younger workers don't feel their employers are delivering, with 74% saying they are likely to quit their job in the next year - due to a lack of development opportunities.

In a survey of 3,000 US professionals conducted by Amazon and Workplace Intelligence, 64% of employees said they feared losing their job due to new skills requirements for which they have not been equipped. A further 58% of employees said they were worried that their skills had gone stale since the pandemic, while 70% reported feeling unprepared for the future of work.

As a result, around two-thirds of employees said it was "extremely" or "somewhat" likely they'll leave their employer within the next year because there aren't enough opportunities for skills development (64%) or career advancement (66%), or because there's no way for them to transition to a different job or a new career path (65%).

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Millennial and Gen Z workers are particularly motivated to quit their jobs due to a lack of skills development opportunities, with three-quarters of those surveyed by Amazon planning to do so.

Learning new skills and developing existing ones has become a priority for employees in the two years since the pandemic, Amazon found.

Looking ahead to 2023, 89% of employees said they were highly motivated to advance their skills, with 80% of employees attributing this newfound motivation to the pandemic. Likewise, 88% said they are already finding ways to improve their skills.

Higher pay (59%), better work-life balance (48%), and an increased sense of purpose (41%) were identified as the main motivators behind employees wanting to polish their skills. But employees also identified their employers as the main roadblock to accessing better learning and development opportunities.

According to the survey, employees want their employers to provide them with opportunities to further their education and participate in networking activities. But only 51% of respondents said their employers provide college tuition, while just 55% reported having access to networking opportunities.

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Because companies aren't consistently teaching employees any new skills or advancing their education, many workers feel underemployed. Over half of professionals surveyed felt it would be difficult to advance their career (56%) or transition into another type of job or a different industry (57%). 

Dan Schawbel, managing partner at Workplace Intelligence, said: "In today's employee-driven job market, employees feel empowered to seek out an employer that truly supports their long-term career goals and ambitions."

"Companies who recognize this and provide a high level of support – from more time for skills development during the workday to better learning benefits and programs – are going to stay one step ahead in the ongoing war for talent."

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