Business

46% of Workers Plan to Quit in 2024

Dan Nicholson

As 2024 advances, the phenomenon known as the Great Resignation not only persists but has evolved. Initially driven by a seismic shift in worker expectations and labor market dynamics during the pandemic, this ongoing wave of resignations challenges the predictions of a settling labor market. Instead of subsiding, a significant percentage of the workforce continues to reevaluate their career paths, driven by various factors from economic pressures to the quest for meaningful work-life balance.

The Great Resignation 2.0

Despite predictions that the so-called Great Resignation would wane by the end of 2023, recent data suggests otherwise. Throughout 2021 and 2022, record numbers of workers left their jobs, with about 47 million Americans quitting in 2021 alone. This was attributed to a rise in wages and to the disruptive effects of the global pandemic, which not only led workers to expect more flexibility in their working conditions but also to reconsider their fundamental priorities.

Labor market experts predicted that 2024 would see a different trend—“The Great Stay” — as wages stabilized and the cost of living remained high. Even Anthony Klotz, the professor who coined the term Great Resignation, said in 2023, “I believe the Great Resignation has largely come to an end.” 

However, data shows that the trend has not only continued into 2024 but intensified. According to a global survey conducted by Microsoft and LinkedIn, 46% of workers are considering leaving their current positions, a significant increase from the 40% reported in the previous years.

Job Dissatisfaction

Aside from outright resignations, 2022 also saw the invention of the term “quiet quitting,” which describes doing the bare minimum required by one's job. Feeling unmotivated, undervalued, and overworked but not ready or able to quit, quiet quitters simply did less and hoped no one would notice. 

These trends paint a dismal picture, revealing deep issues with employee disengagement and dissatisfaction. Notably, data from Microsoft’s Work Trend Index highlights that 68% of employees globally are struggling with the pace and volume of work, contributing to widespread burnout.

According to the 2024 Martech Salary and Career Survey, this extends to workers at all levels of seniority. Constantine von Hoffman wrote for MarTech, “Those in managerial roles saying they were ‘somewhat unsatisfied’ or ‘not satisfied’ increased to 21% in 2024, up from 12% in 2023. For higher-ups, it increased to 18% in 2024, versus 13% in 2023.” This suggests that companies could face attrition from higher-level employees this year.

Why Are Employees Quitting?

There are several key factors contributing to the ongoing Great Resignation:

  • Economic Pressures: Inflation and the rising cost of living have pushed many to seek higher-paying opportunities. The ADP reported that median pay increases for job switchers reached 10% in March 2024, illustrating the financial incentives behind many resignations.
  • Work Environment: The shift to remote work during the pandemic has changed expectations, with many employees reluctant to return to pre-pandemic norms. Employers retracting remote work options are likely seeing higher turnover.
  • Career Development: Lack of growth opportunities is another significant factor. LinkedIn’s 2024 Workplace Learning Report revealed that companies with strong learning cultures see higher retention rates, emphasizing the importance of career progression in job satisfaction.
  • Technological Disruption: The integration of artificial intelligence in the workplace has left many employees feeling the need to continuously adapt or risk obsolescence. This has heightened job insecurity and spurred some to seek roles that offer better training in new technologies.

Looking Forward

As the labor market continues to evolve, both employers and employees are recalibrating their expectations and strategies. Employers are increasingly recognizing the importance of flexibility, competitive compensation, and career development opportunities in retaining talent. At the same time, employees are weighing the benefits of new opportunities against the security and satisfaction of their current roles.

“Organizations have a unique opportunity to become an integral part of their employees’ lives by offering work-life integration, fostering mental health support, and creating an environment where employees feel valued and their voices heard,” wrote Shannon M. Burkel, chief client officer at Axios HR, for Corp Magazine. “Exhaustion is not solely an individual issue; it is a societal one.”

Conclusion

The Great Resignation 2.0 underscores a critical juncture in the evolving relationship between employers and employees. As the data indicates, the reasons behind the ongoing wave of resignations are complex, encompassing economic, personal, and technological factors. For organizations looking forward, the challenge will be to adapt to these shifts by fostering environments that prioritize flexibility, professional growth, and the well-being of their employees. Such strategies are not just beneficial but essential for sustaining engagement and retention in a rapidly changing world.

Sources

Fortune 

Yahoo Finance

FastCompany

ADP

Microsoft’s Work Trend Index

MarTech

2024 Workplace Learning Report

Corp Magazine

Dan Nicholson is the author of “Rigging the Game: How to Achieve Financial Certainty, Navigate Risk and Make Money on Your Own Terms,” deemed a best-seller by USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. In addition to founding the award-winning accounting and financial consulting firm Nth Degree CPAs, Dan has created and run multiple small businesses, including Certainty U and the Certified Certainty Advisor program.

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