Employee resignations are at an all-time high in the U.S. as nearly 40 million workers resigned from their positions during 2021 as part of "The Great Resignation." Resigners are evaluating their priorities, and choosing to walk away from their jobs in search of better pay, relief from burnout, and looking to combat stagnant careers. Many resigners are willing to be out of work while they look for a new position, and dual-income homes are shifting to single-income as couples adjust their costs downwards to make up for lost income. Others find themselves forced to stay at home to care for young children, and/ or elderly parents.
According to recent research from Cengage Group, Boston-based a global education technology company, workers are actively seeking change. The company surveyed 1,200 U.S. adults across industries who had either quit their jobs in the last six months or are seriously planning to quit their jobs in the next six months.
Workers are burnt out and want more pay. They are willing to make personal sacrifices to get a new lease on their professional lives.
71% said they had or would have to be out of work in between jobs. While there are many factors at play, the top cited reasons for quitting were:
Online training is a stepping stone to resigners' next opportunities, and their sights are set on three industries.
Nearly 4 out of 5 resigners (78%) have completed or were currently enrolled in an online training course or certificate program at the time of the survey. 64% say that having an online training program on their resume is essential to landing a new job.
The most popular industries to reskill or upskill into are:
Employers must prioritize professional development and benefits or risk more employee resignations.
The most important attributes of resigners' next roles are good benefits (33%), better pay (23%), but also clear opportunities for professional growth (22%).
Speaking to Fast Company, Aditi Gokhale, chief commercial officer and president, investment products and services, Northwestern Mutual, said: "As a leader, you have to make sure your company stands out to find candidates who want to be part of your organization. Workers will continue to seek companies with a mission they believe in, and careers that offer fulfillment, beyond compensation and benefits. To attract and retain talent, employers will need to demonstrate commitment to winning the war for it by enabling employees to chart, pursue and realize their professional aspirations.”
According to a Slack Future Forum report in late 2020, the global data demonstrates the wave of resignations is not isolated to one country - it's gone global.
Early in the pandemic, when mass layoffs were the norm, and it looked like unemployment was going to be a long-term problem, corporations and governments developed and rolled out a range of reskilling and/ or training programs. Many of them were geared towards software and technical training - and large swaths of unemployed workers (particularly in leisure and hospitality, which was hit disproportionately hard due to shutdowns) took advantage.
Speaking to CNBC, former hospitality worker Sara Adamski described her career shift. The 26-year-old was a cook in a northern Alaska tourist destination when the pandemic forced her to question if she wanted to remain in the leisure and hospitality industry. In response, she quit her job without another one lined up, and relocated to Texas and enrolled in a coding boot camp. In October, she started working remotely as a software engineer intern at a Michigan-based company.
This trend will continue - Cengage found that most respondents were involved in online training of some sort or another.