Original Research

Factors influencing intention to leave of younger employees in an academic institution

Thapelo D. Chaacha, Elrie Botha
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 19 | a1519 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v19i0.1519 | © 2021 Thapelo D. Chaacha, Elrie Botha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 November 2020 | Published: 22 November 2021

About the author(s)

Thapelo D. Chaacha, School of Industrial Psychology and Human Resource Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Elrie Botha, School of Industrial Psychology and Human Resource Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: The retirement age of most of the academics currently in the workforce is approaching fast. To understand factors that would influence younger academics to leave the profession is becoming more important in order for institutions to avoid a knowledge gap and ensure information and skill transfer.

Research purpose: The purpose of the study was to investigate factors influencing the intention to leave younger employees in an academic institution. The objective was to explore factors that would result in younger employees leaving the institution.

Motivation for study: It is important to understand how younger employees experience the academic world in order to attract, develop and retain them within academia as employees.

Research design, approach and method: Purposive sampling was utilised, which provided the researcher the opportunity to gain further understanding on participants whilst exploring their experiences. The participants were under the age of 35 years, either in possession of a master’s degree or in the process of obtaining a master’s degree. A thematic analysis was conducted after 17 semi-structured interviews were completed and transcribed.

Main findings: The study revealed that employment practices are the leading reason for the intention to leave of younger academics followed by job satisfaction. Further reasons why employees considered leaving the institution were work engagement and well-being. These findings can assist in developing effective methods of attracting, managing, engaging and retaining these younger employees in the academic institution.

Practical/managerial implications: The results of this study provide insights into human resource management practices to better manage and design methods to reduce younger academics’ intention to leave the institution.

Contribution/value-add: Thoroughly exploring factors that can influence younger academics’ intention of leaving the profession, meaningful methods to encourage them to stay in these academic institutions could be designed.


Keywords

Academics; human resource management; younger employees; intention to stay; intention to leave

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