Original Research

Intention to quit amongst Generation Y academics in higher education

Anecia Robyn, Ronel du Preez
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 39, No 1 | a1106 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v39i1.1106 | © 2013 Anecia Robyn, Ronel du Preez | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 March 2013 | Published: 13 November 2013

About the author(s)

Anecia Robyn, Department of Industrial Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Ronel du Preez, Department of Industrial Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

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Orientation: For a higher education institution (HEI) to maintain a long-term trajectory of excellence, a strong focus on retaining a younger generation of skilled academics is needed.

Research purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate intention to quit amongst Generation Y academics in HEIs.

Motivation for the study: Higher education institutions are more dependent on the abilities and commitment of their staff than most other organisations. More than 4000 academics will retire and need to be replaced by 2018, providing justification for the study of intention to quit of academics.

Research design, approach and method: An ex post facto quantitative research design was followed. Academics at six HEIs in South Africa were sampled. Measurement instruments included abridged versions of the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire, Arnold and Feldman Intention to Quit Scale, Job Descriptive Scale and Chew’s reward scale.

Main findings: Employee engagement, job satisfaction, remuneration, reward, recognition and transformational leadership were significantly related to intention to quit. In the partial model, three of these variables explained 45% of the variance in intention to quit. Partial least square path modelling revealed that employee engagement and job satisfaction have significant negative impacts on intention to quit.

Practical/managerial implications: The findings serve as input for the development of efficacious strategies to retain Generation Y academics at HEIs in South Africa.

Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to our knowledge of intention to quit amongst Generation Y academics. It provides evidence of the complexity and inter-relatedness of variables in the phenomenological network of intention to quit.


Intention to quit; Generation Y; Higher Education


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