One in three German workers 'wants to quit their job'

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One in three German workers 'wants to quit their job'
A man writes on a notepad while working from home. A large proportion of German employees are unhappy with their work. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Finn Winkler

A new study has revealed a stat that will strike fear into the hearts of German employers: almost one in three of their workers is thinking of throwing in the towel.


For the new report, consultancy firm McKinsey surveyed 16,000 people in nine European countries and discovered that - of more than 1,200 German employees surveyed - a huge proportion were unhappy with their work.

More than a third - 36 percent - said they were dissatisfied with their managers, while 34 percent felt they lacked prospects for professional development and promotion.

For 28 percent of the respondents, discontentment was so high that they had considered handing in their notice within the next three to six months. The primary reason was being paid too little for the work they carried out. 

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Conversely, for those who were planning to stick with their current job, 50 percent said appropriate compensation was their main motivation. 

Other key reasons for staying put included reliability and helpfulness in the team (39 percent) and flexibility (38 percent).

According to McKinsey, the desire for flexible working conditions increased sharply during the Covid pandemic, when many employees were able to work from home for the first time. 

Commenting on the findings, Julian Kirchherr, a partner at McKinsey, said the survey was a stark warning for bosses.

"One in three employees in Germany wants to quit - this figure must be a wake-up call for companies," he said. "Those who do not make an effort to retain their employees now will be hit particularly hard by the recession."

In addition to those who were drafting their resignation letters, around a third of employees said they didn't want to quit but were nonetheless unhappy with their jobs. 

Discontentment has partly risen in light of the soaring cost of living - which for most employees hasn't been met with a corresponding pay rise. 

"With over ten percent inflation, companies need to adjust quickly now, especially in compensation packages, and also focus on targeted staff development," Kirchherr explained.

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However, Germany was far from the worst of the countries surveyed in terms of employee satisfaction. With half of all employees thinking of quitting in the coming months, Poland led the rankings as the nation with the most demotivated workers.

On the other end of the spectrum was Austria, where just over a quarter (26 percent) of employees said they wanted to throw in the towel. 

For Kirchherr, however, the solution to happy workers is a simple one: "The formula for keeping employees is: fair wages, fair bosses and nice teams," he said.


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