Should you quit your job? Thinking about career advancement? | Skillfully

Don't quit – rather upskill yourself

Greg Fried
23 January 2023

Jimmy Winfield, co-founder of, recently spoke with Africa Melane of CapeTalk about the Great Resignation among South African professionals. If you’re looking for career advancement, Jimmy recommends thinking twice before quitting, and rather working with your employer to upskill yourself. As Jimmy explains, it can be hard to find and book the right courses. makes it easy, empowering you to make your own training decisions and optimising the process of finding and booking the ideal course for you.




Audio Transcript


Africa - “The beginning of a new year is often synonymous with New Year's resolutions. Many people think of fitness, many people think of diets, many people think of traveling, and in some cases changing of jobs. But, what is also synonymous with this month of the year is that it's the most popular month for employees to quit their jobs. Let's find out why. Jimmy Winfield joins us on the line now, co-founder of Skillfully. Jimmy, a very good morning and welcome to the show.”


Jimmy - “Good morning Africa, and good morning, Cape Town. It's a pleasure to be here.” 


Africa - “So why do we have the month of January, I suppose infamous, for the highest number of employees on average who quit their jobs.”


Jimmy - “Yeah, that's right. In fact, a recent study found that it's not only that January is the most popular month, but in fact, the 21st of Jan is the most popular day in the year to quit. So Africa, you've got, what, three days to make up your mind about this Cape talk thing you've got going here.”


Africa - “I’m staying. Thank you very much. I love my job. I love my listeners. I'm having a wonderful time. So 21st of January can come and go. I'm staying.” 


Jimmy - “That's great for you. Look, I think one reason is that there are a lot of resignations because of the fresh perspective that a new year brings. I mean, we might not all make New Year's resolutions, as you mentioned, and we certainly don't all keep them, but most of us begin a year looking to make the most of it. And so, in January, maybe we're more prepared to make big changes and also of course we've just been on holiday most of us. And let's face it, holidays are just so much better than work, and I think perhaps that causes us to blame our current job and want to switch to a new one when in fact the real problem is just the more general need to work at all.” 


Africa - “Are there any sectors that are more susceptible to resignations at this time of the year than others?”


Jimmy - “Look, the fact is that you know you might in fact wonder that, in South Africa maybe we don't actually have this same problem. You know, globally we talk about the great resignation and of course with our 35% unemployment rate and our horrendous 65% youth unemployment, you might wonder why people would be resigning when there's such a huge undersupply of jobs. But, the fact is that there are different employment sectors in our economy, and in fact, the great resignation is a thing in South Africa in the professional sectors where people with specialist scarce skills still have decent prospects of replacing one job with another.” 


Africa - “Particularly when given the fact that you alluded to earlier, that a lot of people often come out of their December holiday realising, you know what, I'm gonna go back to doing exactly the same job, there's no hope of me advancing in my career, certainly not in the current place. And, I would argue that you'd look to other establishments and realise actually there isn't an opportunity necessarily available now for you to advance your career in that place.” 


Jimmy - “Yeah, yeah, that's quite right. In fact, you know, there was a recent study by Pew that found that last year in the list of reasons that people gave for leaving their jobs, one was the obvious one where the pay is too low, but another is exactly what you mentioned there, Africa, that people feel that they have poor opportunities for advancement, and in fact, there's a McKinsey report which found that 94% of people say they would stay longer at their firm if it invested meaningfully in their career development. So, it's probably not the case that the right solution is just to quit your job. In fact, what you probably have to do is just arrange things differently. You know, like any relationship it's usually better not to just walk out, but rather to work with what you've got. And the fact is that on the question of career advancement, your interest and your employees’ interests should be aligned, right? Employers don't want their people to quit because churn makes life unpredictable and expensive for them, and if you're a professional, your firm wants you to develop your skills and stay ahead of the competition just as much as you do. So, if you feel that your employer is not investing in your career development, then you need to go and have a chat with them, and I suggest that they will be receptive to that. In fact, you might be surprised how many employers are already authentically committed to helping people advance in their careers. That's certainly the case with our clients in the financial services sector. In fact, the problem we see is that despite both parties, the employer and the employee, genuinely wanting to see their employee upskill and advance, it just doesn't get done or doesn't get done properly.”


Africa - “Somebody on the WhatsApp line saying… “someone must please tell the politicians about January 21st so that they could quit their jobs.” What training platforms do you then offer your clients in the financial sector to help with this?” 


Jimmy - “Well, you know, Skillfully has been a training provider for some time. And what we've realised over the years is that there are kind of two reasons that people don't really get trained as well as they ought to, or don't get trained at all in some cases. And one is an internal reason and the other is an external one. And the internal reason is that usually in most organisations it's someone in HR that books most of the training, and the problem there is that the HR person may have great intentions, but they aren't you and they don't know your training needs exactly. And I'm not just talking about the content of the course, but the timing and the mode of delivery, and what kind of learner you are, and all of those sorts of things. I imagine that there have been many of your listeners who have been sent on some training where they feel that their time could have been much better spent doing something else. And, so ultimately, you know yourself best and you should have control over your own learning journey. And the second reason, the external one, that upskilling often falls short in practice, is that no matter who is looking for the training, it's been really difficult to find the right course. You know, everyone goes online, but there's no single place you can go to get inspired about what the available options are. Even when you know exactly what you're looking for, it's hard to know if you've found all of the relevant trainers, and it's really not possible to compare the quality of different trainers. You'll often end up just going with word of mouth and hoping that you're not missing out.”


Africa - “Thank you very much, Jimmy. Jimmy Winfield, co-founder of Skillfully. 21st of January is generally the most popular date and month of the year for people to quit their jobs. Think, and think long and hard before you make that decision.”