What benchmarks can tell us about why employees quit

Jan 22, 2024 | Blog

Deciding to leave your job is no small thing. Very rarely do people have the option to ‘rage quit’ (even after a particularly tough Tuesday…), because everyone needs security, a salary, and a sense of purpose. So there needs to be a good reason for resigning. 

When it comes to your organisation’s resignation rate, it’s essential to understand if anything internal is driving people to quit, or – indeed – to stay.  

The Great Resignation: delayed decision-making?

In our research, we saw a resignation rate of 10.9% across industries in 2022. And that reflects the surge in leavers that everyone experienced in the past few years. Dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’, a wide range of industries saw employee after employee quit – and understandably, this caused a lot of concern.

Look back to 2020 – the year COVID-10 took hold – and resignations had fallen to just 5.3%. That’s not surprising: a global pandemic isn’t a great time to work on your career, and the high number of redundancies meant that job security was front of mind.

But prior to that, in 2017, the resignation rate we found was 9% – not drastically lower than 2022, and also before any ‘delayed resignations’ had built up. Which means it’s not as drastic an increase as it seems. Which also means you can’t write off any recent spike in resignations as a result of societal factors.

How benchmarks can help you tackle retention 

If you want to understand employee retention, benchmarking is a useful way to add context. But there are a few things to bear in mind…

  • Use industry benchmarks wisely: a societal surge of resignations is one thing, but what’s happening in your own industry? Consider what it is about your sector that’s driving an increase or decrease in people leaving – from seasonality to changes in workers’ priorities – and factor that into your analysis.

  • Benchmark yourself against… yourself: don’t congratulate yourself too much if you’re above the industry benchmark for attrition – first you need to understand what direction you’re heading in. Benchmark your organisation against itself in previous years, compare different teams, and appreciate the nuances to understand drivers. 

  • Combine data sources to find answers: once you know if you have a retention issue, combine your HR data with employee feedback to understand what’s behind it. After all, your people are the best source of answers about their job satisfaction – ask them!   

Mining Sector Deep Dive: what’s driving people out?

In our data, we saw that the mining industry had a particularly high rate of resignations in 2022 – 30.1%! And although, again, that’s a sharp rise that happened after the pandemic’s peak, it was already high at 21.7% in 2017. So what’s driving this?

Research from Mckinsey suggests there’s a few things at play. In one instance, the remote locations are intrinsically not particularly family-friendly – and that, and a ‘boys club’ mentality, are driving women from the sector

There’s also growing concerns about safety, the strain of the work itself, and environmental concerns. Some of these factors are likely behind the reduced numbers of young people joining the sector – with a 63% drop in industry joiners in Australia since 2014, and 39% in the US since 2016. 

Their suggestions to counter this include listening to employees to understand their priorities. For example – the close-knit teams that remote mining locations result in could be a draw for Gen-Z workers, if positioned correctly, as that’s a key driver for them.

What can we take away from this: the resignation rate has always been high in mining, but the degree to which it has increased shows that talent needs to be prioritised, and the answer comes from looking at your data and asking employees for their input.

Use Qlearsite’s free benchmarking tool

If you want to understand metrics like attrition, we can help. Our benchmarking and people metrics tool is free to use – all you need to do is sign up, and connect your HR data. It’s simple, secure, and the fastest way to really understand your people. 

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