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Despite reports of regret, the Great Resignation shows no sign of slowing down

August 8, 2022

Nearly 48 million Americans quit their jobs in 2021. Since then, records have been racking up for workers prepared to voluntarily leave their jobs, fueled by the desire for higher wages, better benefits, and a more rewarding job, in line with quality of life. But recently, some newspaper headlines have been reporting a considerable number of people who have regretted their resignations.

A Joblist survey found that one in four workers (26%) who quit their jobs say that they regret the decision, while 42% of respondents who returned to the workforce said their new position had not met their expectations. According to the report, hospitality workers (31%) were the most likely to regret quitting, while healthcare workers (14%) were the least likely.

Even so, the number of layoffs currently recorded in the United States is still unchanged from last year. Fortune magazine pointed out that a survey by Microsoft found 41% of workers currently thinking about leaving their jobs, and another survey by McKinsey put that number at 40%. So what is actually happening?

What the McKinsey study reveals is that a portion of American workers who have left their jobs (18%) are returning to the market but in non-traditional roles. This includes part-time jobs, temporary gigs, or even starting their own business. 

Besides, mobility between industries is high. Many workers who quit their jobs do so to move to a different industry, even if it means leaving a highly profitable area. According to the report, globally, just 35% of those who quit in the past two years took a new job in the same industry. In finance and insurance, for instance, 65% of workers changed industries or did not return to the workforce. In the public and social sector, the exodus was even greater, at 72%.

“This isn’t just a passing trend, or a pandemic-related change to the labor market,” Bonnie Dowling, one of the authors of the report, told CNBC. “There’s been a fundamental shift in workers’ mentality, and their willingness to prioritize other things in their life beyond whatever job they hold. We’re never going back to how things were in 2019.” 

Source: Joblist | McKinsey | CNBC | Fortune