Original Research

Exploring turnover intentions of employees at a South African government education council

Refilwe A. Selesho, Mokgata A. Matjie
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 22 | a2251 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v22i0.2251 | © 2024 Refilwe A. Selesho, Mokgata A. Matjie | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 February 2023 | Published: 12 January 2024

About the author(s)

Refilwe A. Selesho, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Mokgata A. Matjie, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Orientation: Public sector organisations in South Africa, including educational institutions, experience high employee turnover. There is a general need for public sector organisations to retain valuable talent.

Research purpose: This study aimed to explore the reasons behind turnover intentions at the government education council.

Motivation for the study: Studies on employee turnover in the public sector focused on government departments and municipalities, with a scarcity of research studies on government education councils.

Research approach/design and method: An exploratory qualitative research approach was followed which allowed for the usage of semi-structured interviews to collect data from employees (N = 11). Data were analysed using content analysis. The inductive coding method was used to get to themes and subthemes.

Main findings: Employees may leave the government education council because of the micromanagement leadership styles, lack of trust by management, inadequate communication, poorly implemented performance management system, persistent workload, low pay and lack of work–life balance. However, they currently remain within the employment of the council because of its reputation, sense of belonging (teamwork), conducive work environment and career growth prospects.

Practical/managerial implications: The government education council should promote autonomy and prioritise leadership skills, team building and other interventions to enhance trust, communication and work-life balance. The government education council should ensure the buy-in of the performance management system and its remuneration policy by employees.

Contribution/value add: This study’s findings provide insights into the turnover intentions of employees at the government education council and then assist the organisation in strengthening its retention strategies.


turnover; turnover intentions; employee turnover; government education council; education council.

JEL Codes

I20: General; J45: Public Sector Labor Markets; O15: Human Resources • Human Development • Income Distribution • Migration

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth


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