Signs Your Top Talent is Leaving and 5 Ways to Stop It

By Robert Half on 28 August 2023
Estimated Read Time: 3 minutes

In the midst of Japan's current seller's market, the shortage of skilled labor and the departure of talented individuals present significant challenges for companies. As industries face heightened competition, securing and keeping top-tier talent has become pivotal to a company's success.

This article aims to provide insights into recognizing signs that your top talent might be on the verge of leaving and understanding the underlying reasons. Furthermore, it will explore actionable steps that companies can take to proactively address these signs and retain their valuable workforce.

Job changes on the rise

The recent Labor Force Survey conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications indicates a notable trend in job changes. In 2022, approximately 9.68 million individuals switched jobs, marking a 16% surge compared to 2018. This growing willingness to change jobs is evident with 2.96 million job changes in the first quarter of 2023 alone.

A significant 37.4% cited "seeking better conditions" as the primary reason for changing jobs, signifying a proactive approach towards enhancing work environments.

Why does top talent leave early?

The motivations behind employees leaving early are often rooted in the factors that led them to explore new opportunities. Mynavi Corporation's "Job Change Trend Survey 2023" highlights key drivers for job changes, with "low salary," "poor workplace relationships," and "dissatisfaction with job content" taking the lead. Notably, dissatisfaction with salary has shown an upward trend since 2021, possibly influenced by economic factors.

While considerations like “work location” and “work-life balance” once held prominence, the focus has shifted towards “income” as a means of sustaining livelihoods. Society is clearly witnessing a prevailing trend where individuals are opting to seek improved work environments and personal growth by switching jobs, rather than remaining with a company when discontented.

5 signs of top talent leaving

Spotting signs that indicate an employee's potential departure is crucial for preventing a talent exodus. Here are five key indicators to watch out for:

  1. Diminished Motivation: Decreased attachment to the company can result in lowered motivation, decreased work efficiency, and reluctance to take on new projects.
  2. Limited Internal Communication: Employees considering leaving might disengage from active communication within the company, reflecting in reduced participation in meetings and company events.
  3. Increased Use of Paid Leave: A noticeable increase in taking paid leave or leaving the office early could hint at preparations for job transition.
  4. Expanded External Networking: Employees contemplating departure may suddenly begin actively seeking connections within their industry, attending external events and seminars.
  5. Absence of Complaints: A sudden decrease in complaints may not necessarily indicate a positive shift; it could signal a growing sense of resignation.

5 measures to retain top talent

To retain top talent, proactive strategies are essential. Here are five effective approaches:

  1. Open Communication: Regularly offer platforms for employees to express their career aspirations and work-related concerns. Incorporating employee opinions into company systems boosts motivation.
  2. Present Growth Opportunities: Clearly outline potential career paths and growth avenues. Aligning opportunities with employee motivations encourages commitment.
  3. Balance Workload and Life: Prioritize work-life balance, distribute tasks evenly, and encourage the use of vacation time. Flexible work arrangements contribute to loyalty.
  4. Fair Evaluation and Compensation: Recognize and reward achievements fairly. Transparent evaluations and performance-based incentives build trust.
  5. Recognition: Acknowledge exceptional performance with appropriate rewards. Feeling valued enhances motivation and dedication.

See more management advice to retain top talent


In today's landscape of labor scarcity and evolving work preferences, preventing the departure of top talent is paramount. Recognizing warning signs and implementing effective strategies can help you address this challenge successfully.

Robert Half, a trusted leader in human resources solutions, is here to assist you in your talent retention efforts.

Consult with us about securing top talent

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