What Is The Great Resignation?

The Great Resignation: The Complete Overview

Great Resignation
Image Credit: Keystone-France via Getty Images

When the world was thrown into a pandemic in early 2020, every government tried to “stop the spread.” One simple way to do that was to recommend that everyone who could work from home to do just that.

Those “three weeks to stop the spread” turned into two years, which stirred up new thoughts from workers across the globe:

Along the way, a professor coined the perfect term for the trend: The Great Resignation.

 

What Is The Great Resignation?

Anthony Klotz - Great Resignation

Dr. Anthony Klotz

Associate Professor of Management

Texas A&M University

 

The Great Resignation Defined

The decisions of millions of workers to quit their jobs during the pandemic

Who came up with the term, The Great Resignation?

  • Who coined the term? Dr. Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University
  • When was the term coined? May of 2021 in a Bloomberg interview
  • What is The Great Resignation? “The decisions of millions of workers to quit their jobs during the pandemic”

 

What are they key statistics to prove The Great Resignation is happening?

  • “47.8 million workers quit their jobs, an average of nearly 4 million each month, meaning 2021 holds the highest average on record.” (source)
  • “U.S Census Bureau figures show that Americans filed a total of more than 5.4 million applications to start new businesses in 2021, surpassing the record set in 2020 of 4.4 million.” (source)
  • “According to Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index – a survey covering more than 30,000 people in 31 countries – over two-fifths of people are considering leaving their employer in the next year. And flexibility and hybrid work opportunities have become a deciding factor for many.” (source)
  • “Conducted by Catalyst and Harris Poll, the survey of 903 workers finds that half of working Americans want to make a career change.” (source)

See the full list of great resignation statistics.

 

Definitions From Multiple Perspectives

Definition

Person

Title

Date

"The decisions of millions of workers to quit their jobs during the pandemic."

Anthony Klotz

Professor, Texas A&M University

"In the last three months, a record number of around 300,000 workers say they left a job because they were looking for better job opportunities.”

Josh Frydenberg

Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia

"The Great Resignation describes the elevated rate at which U.S. workers have quit their jobs starting in the spring of 2021, amid strong labor demand and low unemployment as vaccinations eased the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Amy Fontinelle

Investopedia Writer, Personal Finance Expert

"A term that describes the trend of the mass voluntary exit of employees from their employment obligations."

Dr. Simone Phipps

Professor, Middle Georgia State

A fast-moving and powerful trend... due to a confluence of factors that has coalesced to create a transformation in how people engage in work."

David Blustein

Professor, Boston College Author, "The Importance of Work in an Age of Uncertainty: The Eroding Work Experience in America"

Great Reshuffle: “An unprecedented moment in the history of work where all of us are rethinking not just how we work, but why we work.”

Ryan Roslansky

CEO, Linkedin

Great Reshuffle: “Millions of people have left their jobs in search of more fulfilling roles with greater flexibility.”

Charlotte Edmond

World Economic Forum

“The Great Resignation is set to continue, according to a new global survey by PwC, with one in five saying they are likely to switch jobs in the next 12 months.”

Bob Moritz

Global Chairman of PwC

"Large chunks of the global workforce left for greener pastures en masse when it appeared their employers or industry were no longer the right fit."

Jamie Mackenzie

Director at Sodexo Engage

“For a lot of people, they’ve given a lot of time to a company and they’ve been with an organization for many years, they feel like they’ve been loyal. And then they are hearing all these things about reduced hours, furloughs, layoffs, and think well maybe it’s time for me to reconsider my path.”

Dr. Cody Chullen

Associate Professor in the College of Business at East Carolina University

"An ongoing economic trend in which employees have voluntarily resigned from their jobs en masse, beginning in early 2021."

Wikipedia

"The Great Resignation describes the elevated rate at which U.S. workers have quit their jobs starting in the spring of 2021, amid strong labor demand and low unemployment as vaccinations eased the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Investopedia

See Also: The Great Resignation Vs. The Great Reshuffle

About the author

Henry OLoughlin

Hi, I'm the founder of Buildremote. I have worked from home for a decade and run a fully remote, four-day work week company for eight years. I've made all of the mistakes running a remote company. I hope if you read my site, you'll be spared.

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