A new study shows there are actually two


This might be the best time to get a new job.

Workers have the advantage right now. With the lowest unemployment rate in almost 50 years — there are more job openings than people available to fill them.

As the recent Payscale study suggests, none of us are paid enough — it’s a seller’s market right now. No surprise then that the top reason people quit their jobs is for higher pay.

But, that’s just one part of the answer.

Money can’t buy employee’s loyalty. People don’t just want to earn more — they might leave for that reason but choose a new job for a different one.


It’s not money, but why you pay what you pay

As a former CEO, I learned to ask two questions every time someone quit. Though both are interconnected, there are not the same.

Why are you leaving?

And why are you taking a new job?

People quit because of something they dislike at their current company — and take a new job for another motive.

That’s precisely what Payscale new study uncovered. The Why they quit you” survey identified two key reasons why people are changing jobs.

  • Employees want to earn more money — quitting is the quickest way to get a better salary.
  • The promise of meaningful work — the current market situation allows people to be more selective.

Money can get employees to leave but is not enough to attract them — they quit a job but choose a new organization that is more aligned with their values

25% of people surveyed left for higher pay. More workers than ever before feel incredibly confident that they will find another one — and quickly. However, 27% of all respondents said the main reason to choose a new job was the opportunity to do more meaningful work.

People don’t just care about how much they will get paid — but why.


The generational and gender gap

Money plays a different role across generations.

In a conversation with PayScale’s Chief Economist Payscale, Katie Bardaro, she explains why: “Millennials and Gen Xers are more hungry for promotions. They want to maximize their best career years.”

Baby boomers, on the other hand, prioritize wellbeing.

Those who are in the low/ middle of the corporate ladder are much open to quitting to get a promotion — they want more money and more responsibilities.

“Our own research has shown that wages stagnate in your 40s,” adds Bardaro. “So your highest opportunity for seeing wage growth, which tends to come with promotions, is in the earlier part of your career.”

Men are more likely to look for higher-paying jobs, while women want more flexibility.

That seems like a huge surprise considering the gender pay gap.

Women face multiple barriers to advancement in the workplace — especially women of color. That was one of the critical findings of another study by Payscale: “The State of the Gender Pay Gap 2019.”

Is not that women don’t care about the money. Unfortunately, most are still bearing the burden at home. Women need flexibility — they want to be successful both at work and at home.

Women are being punished — there’s a penalty for those who stay unemployed while taking care of their younger kids. It’s also harder for a woman to get to the top of an organization.

As Bardaro told me, “Women are underrepresented in the top field but there are no jobs in the top level that provide flexibility.”


So, what’s next?

The job market is full of paradoxes and contradictions.

On the one hand, the future of work looks bewildering. Just mentioning the acceleration of change gives us motion sickness, as this article explains.

On the other hand, the present favors employees. You could quit your job and get a higher paying one — very quickly.

So, what should you do?

If you are a leader, make sure your organization is being authentic. Trying to bribe employees with more perks or a raise is not working. Jobs are not something functional to make money — meaning is in the eye of the beholder.

Start with Bardaro’s suggestion. Be transparent about your salary policy — not just the salaries but, most importantly, why you pay what you pay.

Also, increase flexibility for women across the entire organization — especially at the top. Offer the possibility of working remotely or having flexible schedules.

If you are an employee, be open to new opportunities — but also mindful. Money is tempting, but it is not always the answer. Some companies will try to hide their soulless culture, talking about purpose and culture.

Don’t just get a better job — get the one that’s right for you.

I was surprised that learning wasn’t mentioned as something important. A great job helps you develop too. The future of work demands that we relearn to learn, to adapt, to stay curious.

All of the meta-skills to thrive in the 21st century, the most important one, you learned it in kindergarten.

Are you considering to look for a new job?

Make sure you don’t just focus on the short-term win but also on what’s best for your long-term success.

You can find a new job you love. Or you can fall in love (again) with your current gig — quitting is an option but not the only one.

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