Why Do Developers Quit Their Jobs?
Too many meetings? Low salary? Boring projects? Too many hours? Burnout? Poor management? Think again!
When we ask developers why they quit their jobs, they provide several reasons; hoever, these are the reasons that have surfaced to their consciousness. The true reasons, the ones that have made their job so painful that they had no other choice to leave, often remain hidden in their subconscious minds. These other reasons are difficult to uncover, and yet, surprisingly, a group of researchers from Harvard Business School stumbled upon the root cause for nearly ever developer quitting their job.
If you look around, including many other articles in Medium, you will always find the same problems and same explanations. All of them focus on the superficial reasons for quitting, and do not go deeper. Some of those problems are:
- Boredom. We hear that developers need challenges, yet they may have too many meetings, and thus do not have the opportunity to develop. Or even worse, too many processes.
- Burnout. Too much work, too little rest or vacation time. Stress builds up, and one day the developer cannot continue.
- Overtime. Tight schedules, too many hours. Working until late.
- Salary. In some way, it is how much the developer feels appreciated, at least in a measurable and objective way.
- Bugs. Spending long hours debugging and looking for bugs is not a task that most developers like. Even if it was their own code.
- Managers. Somehow, they encapsulate most of the previous points. They can decide the salary, the vacation time, the mandatory processes, the tools, the work environment…
It turns out that most of those reasons are irrelevant. I will return later to the managers because they deserve a special attention. But still, it is not very relevant. At least, not directly.
The reason for this article is the astonishing research from the Harvard Business School about why there were some companies with such high turnover levels and others not. What could have been the real difference between them? The statistics they published were devastating: