Transition generation: American workers quit their jobs in record numbers


This is the second part of the FT series analyzing how the Covid-19 pandemic affects Changed the labor market And changed the way millions of people think about work

Lindsay Coleman quit two jobs this year.

The first time was in January, when she worked in a software company for nearly six years after graduating from university, doing sales. She loves her colleague there, but feels that she can’t refuse a competitor’s offer to let her take a position that she thinks might be more pleasant.

But by October, New Yorker Coleman realized that she would prefer to sell apartments rather than software, and after obtaining a real estate license, she resigned again to join The Corcoran Group.

29-year-old Coleman said: “Software sales is a very lucrative career, but I always know in my heart that this is not something I like, and I don’t know if I will do something about it.”

“When you, like, every day, all day, sitting in an apartment alone and working, you really realize whether you are happy or not,” she added.

FT series: Where did the workers go?

Features of this series include:

part 1 How to reduce immigration and early retirement reduces the workforce

part 2 Transition generation: American workers quit their jobs in record numbers

Part 3 Return to work: French workers’ “big resignation” after boycott of Covid

Part 4 The pandemic of professional women in emerging markets “her cession” lingers

Coleman is part of the unprecedented wave of American workers’ resignations in 2021. The Labor Department reported this month that approximately 4.4 million Americans resigned in September alone, breaking the record for the largest number of resignations in a single month since the investigation began. 2001. The previous record was set in August.

Across the United States, as businesses expand to take advantage of the economy rebounding from the coronavirus pandemic, there is a great demand for workers. Although some people are trying to use their newly discovered influence to get higher salaries and benefits from existing employers through organized actions, more people are giving up their old jobs and turning to better ones.

Job vacancies have also soared. Economists believe that most resigners may have arranged other roles before submitting the notice, because despite the record high resignation rate, the labor force participation rate has remained stable since the decline in 2020.

Nick Bunker, an economist at the employment website Indeed, said: “In 2021, as the demand for workers is also increasing, we do see an increase in the resignation rate of workers.” “So this is indeed an opportunity for many workers to see the labor market. A story of going out and seizing the opportunity.”

A line chart of the number of resignations per month (in thousands), seasonally adjusted to show more American workers resigning

The “big resignation” already known as the “big resignation” initially surprised many economists, who believed that even if they were not satisfied with their jobs, workers were generally unwilling to disrupt the status quo.

But the Covid-19 crisis has confused economic and social norms, causing workers to reassess what they want from work. As a result, many people who were hesitant to quit smoking finally decided to grit their teeth.

“This is’Covid clarity’,” said Alexander Alonso, chief knowledge officer of the Human Resource Management Association, who has been studying this phenomenon for six months.

Alonso said that most ex-smokers during the pandemic leave in search of higher salaries, better work-life balance or better workplace benefits. “This is not a comeback [office] People are fighting,” he added.

Bunker said the industries most affected by the pandemic also had the largest number of resignations, referring to manufacturing, leisure and hospitality industries.

For Danit Sibovits, a lawyer based in New York, she quit her job at an insurance defense company in June due to lack of workplace benefits.

During the lockdown last year, her old company did not provide employees with basic work-from-home equipment, such as laptops or health resources.

“I’m stagnating,” said Sibovits, 38. “I was fine before Covid. I can handle it. Then I can’t.”

Danit Sibovits, New York lawyer

New York lawyer Danit Sibovits resigned in June

In Houston, another lawyer had the same knowledge. 36-year-old Aparna Shewakramani has been in business for 10 years and most recently served as the general counsel of an insurance brokerage company.She never really liked her job. The epidemic gave her the opportunity to star in a Netflix series without a script called India Matchmaking.

Shewakramani took time off to find other opportunities, including writing a book after the show became famous overnight, but never returned. She resigned in April.

“I had to lose fat. For me, that was my stable career,” Shewakramani said.

Jenna Coluccio, a 27-year-old medical assistant, quit her job in June due to the need for financial stability. She knew that the intensive care unit in Manhattan, where she had worked for more than two years, paid her too low a salary and was not suitable for her long-term culture.

Although she originally planned to continue working for three years, the pressure of the Covid crisis prompted her to start looking for new positions in her favorite hospital earlier. A few weeks later, she received a letter of admission and immediately handed in the notice.

“People have been talking about how this generation keeps changing jobs,” Coruccio said. “This is because no one allows yourself to be bullied or undervalued. Did you know? This is completely correct. Our parents told us that you should stick to it and keep working, but why?”

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