Latest News

Survey: 40% of workers are considering quitting their jobs soon. Where are they going?

Written on Aug 19, 2022

More than 4 million people have left their jobs each month in the U.S. so far this year — and according to new research, this record-breaking trend isn’t going to end anytime soon.  

About 40% of workers are considering quitting their current jobs in the next 3-to-6 months, a report from McKinsey and Co. published in late July, which surveyed more than 13,000 people across the globe, including 6,294 Americans, between February and April, has found.  

Such conversations about “The Great Resignation” often focus on why people quit — low pay, few opportunities for career advancement, an inflexible work schedule — but what happens after people leave their jobs isn’t often discussed. 

McKinsey and Co. also spoke with more than 2,800 people in six countries — the U.S., Australia, Canada, Singapore, India and the United Kingdom — who left their full-time jobs within the last two years to find out where workers are going.  

About 48% of people who quit have pursued new opportunities in different industries, the report found.  

Researchers point to two factors driving this exodus: pandemic-induced burnout and better odds of securing a higher-paid role in a tight labor market.  

Companies are still struggling to attract and retain employees — a pattern that had undoubtedly caused a lot of headaches for HR departments throughout the U.S. but has also opened the door for job-seekers to take advantage of new opportunities that might have been out of reach before the pandemic. 

Some industries are losing talent faster than others: More than 60% of workers who quit jobs in the consumer/retail and finance/insurance fields either switched industries or quit the workforce entirely, compared to 54% of workers in health care and education who made such a switch.  

Others are quitting to start their own business or pursue non-traditional employment. 

Of the people who quit without a new job in hand, close to half (47%) chose to return to the workforce — but only 29% went back to a traditional, full-time job, the report notes. These percentages come from a March McKinsey & Co. survey of 600 U.S. workers who voluntarily left a job without another one lined up. 

The remaining 18% of people either found a new role with reduced hours through temporary, gig or part-time work or decided to start their own business. 

“People aren’t tolerating toxic bosses and toxic cultures anymore, because they can leave and find other ways to make money without being in a negative situation,” researchers wrote. “There are more opportunities for work now than ever before with our increased connectivity.”  

More people are choosing to be their own boss: Over the course of the pandemic, new business applications grew by more than 30%, with almost 5.4 million new applications in 2021 alone. 

It’s not just about escaping a toxic work environment, either. Such non-traditional pursuits also fulfill people’s growing desire for flexibility. The freedom to work from anywhere, or choose your own hours, has become the most sought-after benefit during the pandemic — so much so that people value flexibility as much as a 10% pay raise. 

Even with a possible recession on the horizon, researchers expect that people will continue to quit and change jobs at elevated rates in the months ahead.