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Money, Burnout Are Driving Factors in Great Resignation

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Employee resignations are at an all-time high, with a record 4.5 million Americans quitting their jobs in November 2021. So what is it that workers want, and what are they willing to do to make it happen?

A recent survey from Cengage, a global education technology company based in Independence, Ky., shows that workers are jumping ship because they’re feeling burnt out and want better pay. Let’s take a look at what else is propelling the Great Resignation.

Are employers listening?

Money talks — and that’s especially true when people resign. According to the Cengage survey, the main drivers are:

  • Wanting to earn more (91%)
  • Feeling unsupported and burnt out (89%)
  • Feeling stagnated in their roles (83%)
  • Examining priorities and professional goals because of the pandemic (82%)
  • Having another career path or passion they want to pursue (81%)
  • Prioritizing family or personal lives (79%)
  • Being overlooked for a promotion or growth opportunity (75%)
  • Not being able to support themselves or their family on their current salary (73%)
  • Having beliefs that don’t align with their employers (73%)

With these motivations in mind, it’s no surprise that 33% of respondents say good benefits are most important for their next role, followed by pay (23%), growth opportunities (22%) and flexible work arrangements (8%).

Most workers (81%) expect to make more in their next career, while 6% expect to earn less and 11% believe they’ll make about the same.

Job hoppers making sacrifices for better opportunities

Workers do acknowledge that leaving their jobs might mean periods of time off. According to the Cengage survey, 71% say they either had planned or are planning to be out of work before landing their next job, while 21% hadn’t or don’t think they would and 5% don’t know.

More specifically, a majority of job hoppers (or soon-to-be job hoppers) thought they wouldn’t be out of work for more than six months — or don’t plan to be. Here’s a breakdown of how long they expect to be in between roles:

  • Less than 1 month: 15%
  • 1 to 3 months: 33%
  • 3 to 6 months: 37%
  • More than 6 months: 14%
  • I don’t know: 1%

Among those surveyed, most were willing to make trade-offs while shifting professions. These trade-offs include:

  • Taking a part-time or second job: 89%
  • Cutting back on living expenses: 89%
  • Taking out a loan, dipping into savings or borrowing against their 401(k): 81%
  • Moving back home: 73%
  • Taking the kids out of day care: 71%
If you leave your job while seeking better opportunities, you could consider taking out a personal loan to tide you over. Personal loans are flexible in how the funds can be used, with some lenders letting you borrow as little as $600 to $1,000.

Workers believe reskilling will boost their odds

While nearly half (45%) of survey respondents report they think they’ll find their next career opportunity in the same or a similar industry as their last job, 46% expect to pull a 180 with a job in an entirely different sector that they’ve considered for a while.

In turn, nearly 89% of resigners say they’ll need to invest in learning a new industry. However, while learning new skills in an online training course could provide a valuable steppingstone toward a more lucrative and meaningful career, 22% who hadn’t done so say they haven’t because of a lack of time or money.

Methodology: Between Nov. 23 and Nov. 30, 2021, Cengage surveyed 1,200 U.S. adults 25 and older who a) left their job in the last six months or b) were considering doing so in the next six months.