The great American resignation

Americans are quitting their jobs in the millions. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 4.3 million Americans, which is 2.9% of the entire workforce, quit their jobs in August.

A Gallup analysis shows that 48% of working Americans are actively searching for jobs or watching for opportunities. 

The report also claims the popularly known “Great Resignation” is not happening due to an industry, role or pay issue. It’s a workplace issue. 

In May alone, 3.6 million Americans submitted their resignation, which left a record-high number of unfilled positions. 

Economists are still investigating what’s going on. 

While many believe that generous government benefits are encouraging people to quit, some evidence suggests that that’s not the case. 

“The family pressures imposed by closed schools, the closing and reopening of businesses, the reshuffling of the population to different locations and industries, and the fear of the virus in face-to-face settings have all also almost certainly played a role. But the historic rise in quitting also seems to be about more than all of this,” a NPR report mentions. 

Quoting a new working paper of UC Berkeley economist Ulrike Malmendier, NPR said that the pandemic and the rise of remote work have changed the way we view our lives and the world. 

Malmendier is not the only scholar who believes that soul-searching during the pandemic helps explain the surge in quitting. 

Texas A&M psychologist Anthony Klotz, who predicted and coined the term “Great Resignation” back in May also believes that people are quitting for a better or more promising job. 

While lockdowns and home offices have made many Americans consider a change, anyone thinking about leaving a job should do so thoughtfully and with intention, Personal Finance Expert Farnoosh Torabi told Reuters. He is the Editor at large at CNET Personal Finance. 

“That starts with asking yourself if you really need to quit in the first place,” he added.

“Sometimes we think we should quit…maybe we don't see any other path. But sometimes that's driven by fear, too,” Torabi says. “We're afraid of confronting our employers and saying 'Hey, I'm burned out. I need time off.’ We're worried that might project some weakness or a sense of us not being a team player.”

Meanwhile, a Forbes report mentioned another survey by CNBC/SurveyMonkey that revealed that 80% of workers went for a company that values diversity, equity and inclusion. 

“I believe workers are leaving jobs, not for the money, but because they need engagement and development and they want their companies to prioritize diversity and inclusivity,” Chief Marketing Officer at MentorcliQ Gracey Cantalupo wrote in her Forbes article. 

Whatever the reason behind this massive quitting, businesses are suffering. According to Gallup, replacing a great employee can cost as much as two times the employee’s salary.