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Why Gen X Workers Leave Their Employers

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 1/28/2013

AmEx OPEN Forum identifies the top reasons why thirty- and forty-somethings are job-hopping more than other generations.

There are a lot of reasons why employees look outside the company for new career opportunities. But some generations of workers have a tendency to "job-hop" more frequently than others -- and according to a recent report on the American Express OPEN Forum, Gen X employees may be less stable than many employees think.

Gen X Reasons for Quitting Jobs

Citing a survey conducted by Deloitte Consulting, OPEN Forum reports that just 37 percent of Gen X employees (workers in their thirties and early forties) intend to remain with their current employer once the economy improves. The percentage of unsatisfied Gen X workers is significantly higher than both Gen Y (44%) and baby boomer (52%) employees.

OPEN Forum points to several reasons why Gen X workers are motivated to look for employment elsewhere, including a distrust of corporations, recruiter "poaching" and a strong entrepreneurial drive -- 40 percent of Gen X men and 25 percent of Gen X women indicate that they eventually want to start their own businesses.

Employers aren't entirely defenseless in their ability to retain quality Gen X workers. Experts point to several things employers can do to make their workplaces more appealing to Generation X.

"If employees work better in groups or with flexible work schedules, encourage this behavior. If they are the loner type, that's okay too," said WorkSimple CEO Morgan Norman. "Don't force them to change how they perform; it's essentially ingrained in them and will likely backfire and decrease their morale. Adjust to them."

Strategies that focus on helping employees balance work and family can also make a difference in Gen X employee retention, since many Gen X employees have waited to start families until they reach their thirties or forties. By offering flextime, job sharing and other opportunities, you can give your business an edge without incurring additional HR costs.

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