Who Needs Another Job Offer? I’m Quitting Anyway!

A new Korn Ferry survey finds 38% of professionals are ready to jump ship during the Great Resignation, even when they don’t have a ship to jump to. 

They’ve already quit by the millions. Among the ones who haven’t, many are willing to walk without another job lined up, and there’s nothing their bosses can do to talk them out of it.

They’re American professionals, and, based on the results of a new Korn Ferry survey, it’s clear that they have every intention of changing jobs in 2022 at a rate similar to that reached in 2021. A stunning 38% say they plan on leaving their job even without another one lined up. At the same time, more than one-third say that no counteroffer would convince them to stay.

For leaders, it’s a sign that the Great Resignation shows no signs of abating. “Talent scarcity is still one of the top issues for our clients,” says Elise Freedman, a Korn Ferry senior client partner and leader of the Workplace Transformation practice. In all, through November of last year, there were more than 40 million instances of workers quitting. That includes more than 4.5 million quits in November, a record high.

In the Korn Ferry survey—of more than 340 professionals in January—almost a third said the biggest reason to leave was the company culture, while 28% said it was “a bad boss.” Only 22% said it was salary and benefits. 

Historically, leaders haven’t done a particularly good job of keeping their employees once they start actively looking for new work. Only 30% of those surveyed said that a counteroffer has convinced them to stay at a prior job. Only 22% said their boss has talked them out of leaving for another job by promising a better work environment. That trend doesn’t look as if it will change anytime soon. According to the survey, 35% said no counteroffer would convince them to stay, and 24% it would take a salary increase of at least 50%.

The fact that few would be willing to accept a counteroffer is not surprising, experts say, considering how many workers are just exhausted from the events surrounding the pandemic. Workers of all levels have dealt with constantly changing back-to-office policies, mixing work and personal lives, taking on additional caregiving duties, and dealing with stressed-out customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. At the same time, they’ve seen many former coworkers leave for higher salaries or new recruits come in making far higher wages than what they’re making. “Your team is probably on a short fuse,” says Dan Kaplan, a Korn Ferry senior client partner in the firm’s Chief Human Resources Officers practice.

Experts say the survey results are a reminder to leaders that they’ll need to do more than just throw money at employees to stem the tide of quits during The Great Resignation, even though that is what many companies are currently doing. “It’s never just about money,” Freedman says. “It’s about the broader ecosystem, including the company’s purpose, the culture, and the relationship with managers.”