5 Reasons Millennials Quit Their Jobs


As a Career Change Coach, I hear many reasons for leaving what may appear on the surface to be a perfectly decent job. Whilst these reasons often vary from person to person, what I’ve noticed over the years is a strong pattern in what tends to underpin their motivations for leaving.

Despite their disloyal stereotyping, Millennials often battle with letting their current manager down by handing in their notice. They want to be loyal but they struggle with the feeling that something is missing, that there has to be more to life than their current career path. As a result, they often feel stuck, not knowing what to do or where to go next.

It can be helpful for organisations to understand why their talent might be leaving. It can also benefit those considering a career change to know that they are not alone in how they’re feeling, and that their reasons for feeling lost and frustrated are normal, common, and valid.

Deloitte research suggests that two out of three Millennials expect to leave their jobs by 2020. So, why are so many Millennials quitting their jobs and changing career?

1. Because they can

More than ever before, we are faced with a limitless amount of opportunity to choose what we want to do for a career. The diversity and choice now open to us is enormous. Advancements in technology and the globalisation of business has meant we can work wherever and whenever we want, in a career that probably didn’t even exist a few years ago. And we know all about the possibilities and the alternatives due to the invention of the internet and social media. All these factors have opened up a working world where anything is possible with hard work, determination, and a dream.

2. They fell into their current career by accident

The vast majority of my clients tell me that they fell into their current career with very little intention or thought. Often, we leave education and take the first job we are offered because we want to get on with being an adult. We want to earn our own money and start paying off our student loans. We want to move out of home and have some fun after all those years of studying! It’s great for a while but 2-3 years on, it would seem the novelty wears off and we start to wonder how the hell we ended up down this path, which we now feel stuck in because there’s rent to pay and a certain lifestyle to maintain. It’s a difficult situation to end up in, often stemming from taking a job we thought we’d only do for a year or so until we figured out what we really wanted to do. Years later, we’re somehow still there.

3. They want to please others

Alongside the reason above is often the fact that we sometimes choose our jobs and careers based on what we think would make our parents proud, what might sound impressive to the people we meet, and what seems to carry a certain status in society. However, what sounds good to others, might not be good for you. Often, we hesitate to leave careers for fear of upsetting our parents, or going against the grain, but the alternative (a life being miserable at work) is far more problematic. It’s a tricky, but enlightening moment when you realise you’re doing a job just to please others, and that, actually, there’s something much more suited to you out there.

4. They have an increased level of self-awareness

People change; that’s our prerogative. What we once valued and wanted from our job may not serve us forever. Our needs change, along with our personalities and circumstances. Perhaps it’s no longer realistic to expect just one career to keep us interested and motivated our whole lives. As we get older, we mature and become more self-aware of our strengths, what’s important to us, and what we want from life. Along with this may come the realisation that the career we’re in does not match up to what we now know about ourselves, and what we want from life. As a society, we are also becoming more and more altruistic, with a deep desire to help others, and for our lives to have purpose and meaning. As this world gets crazier and crazier, it seems we’re looking for more fulfilling ways to make an impact and help those less fortunate than ourselves in one way or another.

5. They want to learn

One thing I’d say 99% of my clients have in common is that they feel they are no longer challenged, or learning anything new in their current job. We all possess an innate desire to learn, grow and understand new things. It’s very hard to enjoy work, or feel motivated and inspired when you’re not being challenged or developing in any way. When we’re stuck doing the same things each day, we start to crave a change. Careers with variety, the need to use different skills, and the room for progression become more and more attractive.

If you’ve been considering a career change for a while now, and you feel it’s finally time to do something about it, contact me to discuss how the 12-session career change coaching programme I offer can help you figure out your ideal career, and how to make it happen.

In the meantime, let’s embrace change and make the most of the freedom we have to choose how we spend our working lives. Life’s too short, and too special, to be stuck in a career you don’t enjoy.

Alice Stapleton

About Alice

Alice coaches those who want to change career but don’t know what they want to do instead. She offers Career Coaching designed to help graduates, early to mid-level career-changers, and parents returning to work gain a clear vision of what career is right for them, and how to achieve it. She is also an accredited Coach Supervisor, and host of The Career Change Diaries podcast.