The Great Resignation

According to Yahoo News, “In April 2020, the U.S. unemployment rate increased by 10.3 percentage points to 14.7%, the highest rate and largest month-to-month increase in the history of this data since the Bureau of Labor Statistics first recorded it in January 1948. A year later, in April 2021, 3.8 million workers quit their jobs, a record-high for a single month.” We are experiencing an all-time high quit rate this year, no doubt about it. But the mystery seems to be, why? Why is everyone quitting their jobs in what is known as The Great Resignation of 2021?


Change in Work/Life Balance

After spending so much time at home in 2020, employees are starting to re-evaluate the importance of their work/life balance. It’s nice to cut down the weekly commute to spend more free time with family, friends, or taking care of ourselves. Without an hour or two per day driving to and from work, there’s more time for self-care and hanging out with loved ones. Employees may not be willing to give that up as more companies migrate back to the office this summer and fall. Whether it’s company policy or the particular role they’re in, remote work forever may not be an option in their current position. If that’s the case, many employees are likely to leave for another opportunity that best suits their ideal work/life balance.


Discovering New Goals

Our perspectives changed a lot over the past year and a half. With those new perspectives, our goals for where we’d like to take our careers have changed. Many are quitting because they’ve decided they want to start their own business, take their skills freelance, or focus on growing their families. They’ve seen a different picture when they imagine their future than they did before, and their current position no longer fits into that picture. For example, if their new goal is to create and manage their own schedule, to have the freedom and flexibility that they can’t get from a traditional 9 to 5, their new goal may be to freelance their talent. They may have this picture in their mind of starting their workday at 10 and never again suffering through early mornings and traffic. Careers are made on goals and if their goals don’t match the direction their career is going, the employee will likely resign.


Exploring New Passions

In the last year, we all dove into new hobbies to keep us busy and entertained at home. For many, those new hobbies developed into newfound passions. They may have discovered they’re talented artists, skilled video or audio producers, handy with construction, or excellent computer or gaming coders. These are all marketable skills that could turn into careers. If they want to pursue these passions full-time, many employees will quit their jobs to start their own business and make an income from doing what they love. It may not have occurred to them before 2020 to take the plunge and start their own business.


More Options for Remote Work

Remote work has become more common. It was enforced in 2020 and many have kept doing it to stay safe in 2021 as vaccines roll out. Now that companies are opening their offices, many employees are asking for permanent remote work and their requests are getting denied. Work from home privileges have allowed for better improved mental and physical health, control over our schedules, and savings on commute expenses. If an employee wants to continue with this lifestyle, they may resign to take a full-time remote position. Additionally, with remote work becoming more available, there are options for jobs out-of-state without needing to relocate. They might have discovered their dream job is finally available to them, one they haven’t been able to take previously due to family obligations and an inability to move across country.


New Company Policies and Procedures

It’s a harsh truth, but many employees may have disagreed with, or didn’t like, the way their employers managed during the health crisis. They may have instituted new policies or procedures that were meant to keep the productivity of the company going as well as respect the health of their employees, but fell short incidentally. It’s understandable; You can’t please everyone. For the employees that wanted an improved system or better health-prioritized procedures, they’re likely resigning to take a position with a company that has stricter guidelines. On the other end of the spectrum, perhaps the company passed too strict of policies and employees may be looking for a business that’s more relaxed in their practices, allowing employees to be without masks in the office.


Aligning Values in a New Way

The societal, political, and economic change that occurred in 2020 also forced employees to re-evaluate their values. If their values no longer align with their employer’s, they may look elsewhere for a position with a company that has values similar to the employee’s new ones. For example, and employee may have become more passionate about sustainability, inclusivity, business transparency and ethics, or clarity around career development (many companies provide a career roadmap at hire). Whatever the new value may be, there’s a business promoting it and putting that value first. Employees care now more than ever about the message they’re representing in their daily work.


Have you been considering resigning from your current position? You may want to consider your goals, values, and whether or not your company is a good fit after this societal and economic change. For more information on the current job market, keep following our blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel to listen to new podcast episodes.