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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The conventional wisdom that more people across the board are more likely than ever to leave their jobs is wrong, according to extensive polling by Gallup

What is true: Self-identified disengaged workers are ditching jobs faster than ever, the data reveals. 

Why it matters: Engagement, not pay or perks, is the leading indicator — and chief reason — for the record turnover many companies are experiencing today.

  • Happy employees are no more likely to leave their gigs than pre-pandemic, Gallup found — basically 40% were open to leaving before the virus hit, and basically the same rate are today.

Engagement — the difference-maker for staying or going — is harder than ever.

  • Employees are burnt out and bummed by work-from-home mandates. And they're isolated — scattered around the country and world in apartments, houses and cottages.
  • This double whammy makes running a business and keeping talent difficult in a strong economy. 

The numbers show how important engagement is to keeping employees from quitting.

  • If you offer, on average, a 20% increase even to someone who is completely engaged in their job, they will look at that particular job. But again, that's not necessarily who's moving right now.
  • Among those that are actively disengaged in their job, 75% are actively looking for new work. They're actually making this move because any increase in pay — and sometimes even a pay cut for a change of scenery — will cause them to leave that job.

This won't get any easier. Big banks and others still fantasize about employees returning to the office for good. But very few want to, and studies show many workers are willing to take big cuts to avoid returning to a physical office daily, says Jon Clifton, global managing partner at Gallup.

  • Gallup found only 30% want to come back full time.

Companies doing the best tend to have a higher purpose than mere profit, first-rate internal communications on a weekly cadence, and a culture with a heavy emphasis on diversity, inclusion and transparency.

  • "Employees expect you to say something, expect you to believe in something, and expect you to have and drive purpose," Lisa Osborne Ross, U.S. CEO of Edelman, told Axios. "This is an employee-driven environment."
  • Brad Burns, chief communications officer at Salesforce, said his company has added 20,000 people who have never seen the inside of an office. "The past is gone and we are operating the way we will be operating for a very long, long time," he said.

💡 You're invited: Today at 12:30 p.m. ET, hear more from Jim VandeHei and the Edelman, Salesforce and Gallup executives during a half-hour virtual event, "Executive Edge: Navigate the Great Resignation."

Go deeper

CEOs join the Great Resignation

Expand chart
Reproduced from Heidrick & Struggles; Chart: Axios Visuals

CEOs, like the workforce at large, delayed their job quitting plans in the chaos of 2020. Now they’re making up for lost time, and are just as much a part of the Great Resignation as their employees, a report out today from executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles shows.

Why it matters: The latest class of CEOs will help lead the world through a host of thorny modern issues — like cybersecurity, sustainability and digital transformation.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening that it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: New documents released last week showed that Cuomo used his contacts to garner information about the women accusing his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, of sexual harassment. Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.