Reasons for Leaving

Pay not as important as employee engagement suggests study.

Reasons for Leaving

Asia Pacific


Organisations suffering from attrition are not addressing the core issues behind the problem. Research from RPO and talent management specialist Ochre House has found high levels of attrition among companies in the Asia Pacific region, but few effective steps being taken to stop people from leaving. 

The company’s latest survey encompassed 30 multi-national corporations and found all those polled experiencing attrition rates from 25 to 67 per cent. HR professionals seem to think that employees are always chasing a ‘better’ job title, indeed some appear to be more motivated by the name of a role rather than its actual content. Bonuses have become ineffectual as a retention tool while the bidding war for talent is becoming fiercer.

Companies are trying to reduce turnover through financial reward, professional title and the outward status of the role, denoted by elements such as the size of the reporting team. They are also being conscientious in providing career development opportunities.

However, when workers were asked to name the most important reasons for leaving, their answers were somewhere different. Their top four priorities came out as the need for transparency, healthcare schemes, then financial reward and finally professional title.

“The research shows that there is a clear disconnect in terms of managerial and individual perceptions of the ‘churn’ crisis,” says Kieran Scally, Ochre House’s VP for Asia Pacific. “The overall conclusion of both the Ochre House research and our February think-tank in Hong Kong, when it comes to managing retention there is no one ‘silver bullet’ – each organisation must devise a tailored solution relevant to its own particular circumstances.”


Scally believes there are two main elements which organisations need to address if they are to enhance their retention strategy. Firstly, pushing up pay does nothing but create wage inflation in the employer’s sector. The answer seems to be to devise a unique approach to reward that competitors would find difficult to match. 

The second area highlighted by Scally is employee engagement. “Focusing on what someone thinks when they are in the process of leaving is like addressing symptoms rather than the disease itself. It’s vital to understand what got them to this point in the first place,” he says.

Exit interviews may therefore come a little to late to really help attrition, although if a company is clever enough they might be able to feed information gained into their current procedures. As such it would be far better to ask for feedback and comments from employees while they are in the workplace and therefore become pro-active at taking steps to keep them there.



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