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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

Record number of U.S. workers quit their jobs in August

New government jobs data released Tuesday helps paint a clearer picture of the impact the Delta variant had on the stalled jobs recovery in August. In a nutshell, more people quit their jobs, and companies pulled back on job openings.

Why it matters: The number of new jobs created in August (366,000) was a stark slowdown from July’s 1 million — and a reality check for investors and economists.

Parkland shooting victims' families settle suit with school district

A makeshift memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2020. Photo: Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Families and survivors of a 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., reached a $25 million settlement in their lawsuit against the Broward County school district Monday, per the South Florida SunSentinel.

Why it matters: The deal was reached in the suit over the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High after the school district won a Florida Supreme Court ruling that could have capped damages at $300,000 in total without approval from the state legislature, AP notes.

Texas Republicans pass new congressional maps in their favor

Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Texas House voted 84-59 late Monday to approve new congressional district maps that reduce the number of districts with Black and Hispanic majorities, per the Texas Tribune.

Why it matters: The legislation comes after recent census figures found Texas' growing diverse population doesn't bode well for Republicans, who then worked to protect incumbents with the redrawn maps.