Diagnosing female staff turnover in higher education

Victoria H Jo, University of Pennsylvania


A salient characteristic about the U.S. workforce is the continual process of voluntary employee turnover, which imposes a problem for employers who invest a substantial amount of time and money in recruiting and training workers. The purpose of this dissertation was to identify key causes of voluntary staff turnover in higher education, as it has been reported that employee turnover is a “frustrating reality” at some colleges and universities. Commonly cited reasons why people choose to work in higher education are good benefits and job security. Less clear, however, is why they quit their jobs. This paper discusses the effects of workplace policies and practices on the voluntary turnover of female staff in higher education. Specifically, an attempt was made to determine whether there are any “unfavorable” conditions in an institution's organizational structure that may inadvertently push female staff members to exit. According to the findings from in-depth interviews with former female staff members of an Ivy League University, the top three reasons for their departure were: dissatisfaction with one's supervisor, a lack of advancement opportunities, and lack of flexible work options. The results of this study may help institutions of higher education gain a competitive advantage in reducing unwanted female staff turnover.

Subject Area

Higher education

Recommended Citation

Jo, Victoria H, "Diagnosing female staff turnover in higher education" (2003). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3112558.