Some are calling this period of the pandemic “The Great Resignation” as more and more workers are leaving their jobs to either pursue new career paths or focus on more personal time making the Texas A&M University professor Anthony Klotz’s prognostication that “the great resignation is coming” seemingly accurate.
Klotz contends, “When there’s uncertainty, people tend to stay put, so there are pent-up resignations that didn’t happen over the past year.” This should lead to a mass exodus of workers leaving their companies for greener pastures with better opportunities.
At first, it seemed a little too far-fetched that workers en masse would quit with or without new jobs already lined up. However, his assertion is proving true. American workers are quitting their jobs more than at any other time in the past two decades.
The United States Department of Labor reports weekly and monthly data on unemployment. A lesser-known indicator is the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey referred to as JOLTS by economists.
CNBC pointed out that the most recent JOLTS report shows “job openings in April soared to a record 9.3 million, as the economy rapidly recovered from its pandemic depths.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job leavers increased by 164,000 to 942,000 in June. Some are calling this period of the pandemic “The Great Resignation” as more and more workers are leaving their jobs to either pursue new career paths or focus on more personal time.
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Ally Butler, 31, was the type of person who loved being busy before the pandemic.
“I discovered this phrase, and it’s never left me because it totally makes sense with my personality: ‘Thrives in chaos’” Butler said. “I loved having like a lot of different projects going, which is what I have always done, and then getting into the pandemic, that definitely pivoted at first.”
Butler, who worked for eight years at the prestigious auction house Christie’s as a tour and exhibition manager, was furloughed at one point during the pandemic.
When she returned to work, the workload was busier than ever and overwhelming. She even admitted to feeling guilty because she envied others who had been laid off.
It’s hard for many to comprehend the amazing resurgence in job openings. A year ago at this time, the U.S. was in a terrible place.
Millions of people lost their jobs. There was an overhang of dread and fear over the bleak future in front of us. Those who were employed sheltered in their jobs. They hunkered down, waiting out the outbreak.
Now, everything’s changing. It’s moving fast too. The same sectors that were crushed during the pandemic—hotels, restaurants, bars, manufacturing, travel, concerts, and sporting events—are now leading the charge in job openings.
There are so many open jobs available that businesses have been raising wages, offering sign-on bonuses and other incentives to procure workers.
Companies are offering flexible and remote-work options. Wall Street investment banks gave their staff Peloton bikes, Apple products, and sizable raises and bonuses to show their appreciation and retain personnel.
There are an array of personal reasons to make a move. Some simply refuse to schlep back and forth to an office, taking two-plus hours a day commuting into a crowded, dirty, and crime-ridden city.
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Insurance and financial services giant Prudential conducted a study that found “one in three American workers would not want to work for an employer that required them to be onsite full time.”
The survey also indicated, “A quarter of workers plan on looking for a new job when the threat of the pandemic decreases, signaling a looming ‘war for talent.’” Prudential vice chair Rob Falzon admitted, “If there’s one thing that keeps me up at night, it’s the talent flight risk.”
Seeing all sorts of opportunities, people have switched industries. Some have taken classes or attended online boot camps to learn new trades or professions in fast-growing areas, like technology.
There are still people concerned about the virus and have pulled themselves out of the job market. Working mothers felt the need to choose between work and childcare. This has been especially difficult for people who live in cities where the public schools stopped in-person learning and sent students home.
According to a report by personal finance site MagnifyMoney, about one in three workers are thinking about quitting their job, while almost 60% are rethinking their careers.
Working women considering a job change are more likely than men to cite feeling burned out, with 42% of women contemplating quitting because of burnout versus 27% of men.