A new challenge, a stepping stone to something better or the prospect of working flexible, rather than extra money, are the main reasons why most employees jump ship, according to a new report.
With the New Year one of the most common times to think about moving jobs, the study by consultancy Capital Incentives & Motivation has found the most common reason for leaving a job, cited by 27 per cent of workers polled, is because they were "looking for a new challenge".
A total of 19 per cent said they had itchy feet because there were too few opportunities for career progression in their current role.
And 15 per cent declared simply that they "did not enjoy the work".
Yet, in what seems like a missed opportunity on the part of employers to establish reasons for leaving and take steps to improve employee retention, said Capital Incentives & Motivation, just 22 per cent of those polled said they had an exit interview when they left their last job.
Managing director Graham Povey said: "The majority of UK employees seem happy in their role and those that are not are moving on for well thought-out reasons; to look for a new challenge and enhance their career, rather than a simple increase in salary."
For the fifth year running, "being fairly treated" was the primary motivating factor for people at work, with 75 per cent rating it as very important.
Over the past 12 months, however, "good pay/current salary" had moved up from third into second place, with 56 per cent rating it as very important.
"Having good relationships with colleagues" fell in importance during 2005 compared with, from 69 per cent rating it as very important to 54 per cent.
This year's survey asked workers to rate the importance of a number of new factors, which had a potential impact on motivation at work.
"Good promotion prospects" were rated as very important (by 38 per cent), "fair workload" by 29 per cent and both "fair time pressures" and "good policy regulation/discussion" by 24 per cent.
Reward and incentive schemes were also on the increase, said the survey, with the number of employers running such schemes up from 68 per cent to 73 per cent.
But the level of consultation with employees on the type of incentive preferred had remained fairly static, increasing from just 22 per cent to 25 per cent.
When asked which benefit would be first choice when choosing the ideal job package, "flexible working hours" was the overwhelming favourite (29 per cent), followed by a company car (17 per cent), an extra week's leave and company pension (both 15 per cent).
"It is no surprise that 'being treated fairly' has remained the top motivating factor as no-one likes to feel under-valued and being respected at work is what we all desire," said Povey.
"It will be interesting to track the ratings of the new factors we surveyed, such as the importance of fair time pressures and good promotion prospects, over the coming twelve months," he concluded.