40% of American workers plan to quit their jobs soon – where they’re going

More than 4 million people have quit their jobs each month in the United States so far this year – and according to new research, this record trend isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

About 40% of American workers plan to leave their current jobs in the next 3 to 6 months, according to a report from McKinsey & Co. released last week, which surveyed 6,294 Americans between February and April.

“It’s not just a passing trend or a pandemic-related shift in the job market,” Bonnie Dowling, one of the report’s authors, says of the high quit rates. “There has been a fundamental shift in the mentality of workers and their willingness to prioritize other things in their lives beyond the jobs they have…we will never go back to the way things were in 2019.”

Such conversations about “The Big Quit” often focus on why people quit – low pay, few opportunities for career advancement, a rigid work schedule – but what we hear less often is that that is happening after people quit their jobs.

McKinsey and Co. also spoke with more than 2,800 people in six countries – the US, Australia, Canada, Singapore, India and the UK – who have quit their full-time jobs. over the past two years to find out where the workers are going.

Nearly half of people who leave their jobs change their sector of activity

According to the report, about 48% of people who quit went on to pursue new opportunities in different industries.

Dowling points to two factors driving this exodus: pandemic-induced burnout and a better chance of securing a better-paying role in a tight job market.

“A lot of people realized how volatile or dangerous their industry was during the pandemic, especially those working on the front lines,” Dowling said.

At the same time, companies are still struggling to attract and retain their employees – a pattern that has undoubtedly caused a lot of headaches for HR departments across the United States, but has also opened the door for applicants. jobs to take advantage of new opportunities that might have been out of reach before the pandemic.

“More employers have opened their openings in order to fill the gaping talent gap they face,” adds Dowling. “They prioritize skills over education or previous work experience, which creates more opportunities across all sectors for job seekers.”

Some industries are losing talent faster than others: more than 70% of workers who left their jobs in the consumer/retail and finance/insurance sectors either changed industries , or completely left the labor market, compared to 54% of health and education workers who have such a switch.

Others leave to start their own business or pursue non-traditional employment

Rapid abandonment could continue until 2022 unless companies make ‘meaningful’ changes

Even with a possible recession on the horizon, Dowling expects people to continue quitting and changing jobs at high rates in the months ahead.

Much of the trend has been fueled by a “drastic” shift in social norms around quitting smoking. “For a long time you didn’t quit a job unless you got another one online – that’s what everyone learned and what people did,” she says. “But that’s changed so much in the last 18 months… now people’s attitude is, ‘I’m convinced that when I want to work there’s going to be something for me. “”

Instead of lamenting the current labor shortage, companies should see the changing economic landscape in the United States as an opportunity to reshape the way we work and build a better model, says Dowling.

“It’s everything from making flexibility part of our credo, to revaluing the value we place on our employees and providing them with the resources they need to do their job…all employers have the ability to make these meaningful changes,” she adds. “But we need to start taking action, instead of sitting back and hoping things will get back to a ‘pre-pandemic norm’ – because all the signs indicate they won’t.”


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