...as 44% of American workers look for a new job.

The Great Resignation, also known as the Big Quit and the Great Reshuffle, is an ongoing economic trend in which employees have voluntarily resigned from their jobs en masse, beginning in early 2021. Possible causes include wage stagnation amid rising cost of living, long-lasting job dissatisfaction, safety concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the desire to work for companies with better remote-working policies. Some economists have described the Great Resignation as akin to a general strike.

The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed workers to rethink their careers, work conditions, and long-term goals. As many workplaces attempted to bring their employees in-person, workers desired the freedom of remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as schedule flexibility, which was the primary reason to look for a new job of the majority of those studied by Bankrate in August 2021. Additionally, many workers, particularly in younger cohorts, are seeking to gain a better work-life balance. Millions of people are also suffering disabilities from long COVID, altering their ability or desire to work.

Restaurants and hotels, industries that require in-person interactions, have been hit the hardest by waves of resignations. COVID-19 stimulus payments and rises in unemployment benefits have allowed those who rely on low-wage jobs for survival to stay home, although places, where unemployment benefits were rolled back, did not see significant job creation as a result. On the other hand, many workers who are dissatisfied with their jobs report that they cannot resign due to economic barriers, many of these workers being people of color. Sekou Siby, president and CEO of the US nonprofit Restaurant Opportunities Center United, commented, “There’s more competition across industries, so workers are feeling more empowered than ever before, but that doesn’t mean everyone is able to leave their current jobs.”

According to a study conducted by Adobe, the exodus is being driven by Millennials and Generation Z, who are more likely to be dissatisfied with their work. More than half of Gen Z reported planning to seek a new job within the next year. Harvard Business Review found that the cohort between 30 and 45 years old had the greatest increase in resignation rates. Racial minority, low-wage, and frontline workers are also more dissatisfied with their work in the United States, according to the asset management firm Mercer.

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