Original Research

Factors affecting the retention of Generation X public servants: An exploratory study

Vhutshilo Masibigiri, Hester Nienaber
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 9, No 1 | a318 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v9i1.318 | © 2011 Vhutshilo Masibigiri, Hester Nienaber | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 August 2010 | Published: 25 March 2011

About the author(s)

Vhutshilo Masibigiri, HR Manager, Inland, Packnstack, Hatfield, South Africa
Hester Nienaber, Department of Business Management, Unisa, South Africa


Orientation: Retaining employees, especially Generation Xers, is imperative to ensure the high performance of organisations.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore the factors that affect the retention of Generation X public servants.

Motivation for the study: Given their unique characteristics, it is a challenge to retain Generation X employees. This problem may be worse in the public sector than in the private sector, as there are fewer financial rewards in the public service than in the private sector.

Research design: The interpretivist paradigm is appropriate for this study. It used a qualitative, empirical approach. The researchers obtained the data through purposive sampling and interviews.

Main findings: The study showed that the factors affecting the retention of Generation X public servants include work content, utilisation of skills, career advancement, work–life balance, compensation, security needs, leadership and drive.

Practical/managerial implications: Employers, like the civil service, can be proactive in retaining Generation X employees because of the factors that affect their retention. Managers can prevent further pressure on service delivery that the skills shortage has caused if they use the skills the employees already have.

Contribution: The article fills a gap, as there has been little research on staff retention. This is particularly true of Generation X employees in South Africa. This article adds information that will improve retention strategies for Generation X employees, particularly in the public service.


retention; Generation X employees; public service; South Africa; performance


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