The Great Resignation: Why so many people are considering a career change

Jamie Sharp

Writer & Blogger

The pandemic changed how we work. Work from home and hybrid became the new norms overnight. Then, when the pandemic eased, and everything was supposed to get back to normal, the great resignation threw a spanner in the works and had companies worldwide reeling.

In a report called The Next Great Disruption is Hybrid Work – Are We Ready? Microsoft discovered that 54% of Generation Z workers, 41% of the entire global workforce, could be thinking about handing their notice in.

Two other relevant surveys found that in the UK and Ireland, 38% were planning to change jobs in the next six months to a year, and a US survey reported that 42% of employees would quit if their company didn’t offer remote working options.

So why is this happening?

Why so many people are considering joining the great resignation

According to Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trends Index, 41% of people are likely to consider leaving their jobs in the next year.

This exodus has been named ‘The Great Resignation’ by organisational psychologist Dr Anthony Klotz, as the effects could be monumental.

The implications for business leaders could be huge. Consider this: You’ve survived the pandemic and can see the light at the end of the tunnel, then you realise almost half your employees could be looking to quit. What’s the impact on your bottom line, customers or plans for the future?

Additionally, this mass migration isn’t restricted to just one industry. A survey of 1,000 UK workers showed that the sectors most likely to be affected include legal – 44%, IT and Telecoms – 42%, and Sales Media and Marketing – 40% are looking for a move in the next year.

But why is this happening now? Here are five reasons we believe are fuelling the great resignation of 2022.

Your employees don’t want to go back to the office full time

After working from home for eighteen months and enjoying not commuting and a flexible work schedule, employees are reluctant to head back to the office full time.

A recent survey found that hybrid working is the preferred option for the majority of employees in 2022, with 57% wanting a hybrid work model and only 5% happy to work remotely full time.

For companies, hybrid working has risks and benefits, as we highlighted in our blog ‘Hybrid Working: The risks and benefits’ But if companies want to hang on to their staff, they need to be flexible and be prepared to offer hybrid working as part of their standard terms.

Also, if companies don’t want the great resignation to impact recruitment, hybrid working gives them a larger geographical area to source talent from, increasing the availability of top talent.

Money is a big motivator for many

Many employees during the Covid-19 pandemic managed to save money while working from home. There are no commuting costs, after-work drinks, lunches out, or all of the other financial drains that come from working in the office.

Also, now employees have more transparency about salary and benefits; thanks to Glassdoor and, employees see how their pay compares to other organisations and how valuable their skillset is.

The great resignation 2022 is in part being fuelled by employees who are improving their salaries by 15-20%, which can make a big difference to their finances and is inevitably a significant driver to move jobs.

Employee burnout, a factor in the great resignation UK?

According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index report, employees are under more pressure than ever before.

One in five respondents to their survey felt their employer doesn’t care about their work-life balance, 54% felt overworked, and 39% were exhausted.

The digital intensity of the average worker’s day has increased significantly with time spent in Teams meetings having more than doubled, meetings are longer, and there is a substantial increase in the number of people working on documents, 66%, and the number of emails received has increased by 40.6 billion globally.

Organisational culture dictates what is expected of employees; as we highlighted in a recent blog post – Organisational Culture is key to retaining employees and increasing your bottom line.

One of the reasons for the Great Resignation 2022 – they don’t like their jobs

The time people spent working from home gave them time to evaluate their lives and jobs, and many realised that they didn’t enjoy their jobs anymore.

Without their interactions in the office and colleague camaraderie, their stripped-back life helped them identify that they didn’t enjoy their work. The only thing keeping them with their current employer was the peripheral interactions and distractions provided by the office.

Research carried out by Visier saw resignations increase in specific age ranges, with employees aged 40 – 45 increasing by 25.1% and aged 30 – 35 increasing by 21.5%. This indicated that employees who were established in their careers and had amassed the skills required to allow them to move were striking out to find jobs that satisfied them rather than staying put and suffering in silence.

Entrepreneurship and the great resignation

The time we spent working from home during the repeated lockdowns allowed many employees to explore side hustles alongside their day jobs to see if striking out on their own was a good idea.

They had the time they saved on the twice-daily commute to experiment and see if the skills they’d acquired over their working life could be put to use as a way to escape their corporate offices and keep the lifestyle they had become accustomed to.

With increased savings accumulated while working from home, many have taken the plunge, with freelancing, consulting, eCommerce stores and eCourse production being amongst the favourites.

Business formation statistics in the US back this trend up, with the pace of applications to register new businesses since mid-2020 the highest on record.


The great resignation is happening and looks set to continue as employees realise that the grass may be greener on the other side of the street.

Money, dissatisfaction and a desire to work more flexibly seem to be the primary drivers for employees to change their jobs and improve their benefits and working conditions.

This isn’t all bad news for recruiters, as the great resignation has caused additional high-quality talent to enter the marketplace. However, if organisations want to hang on to their employees, they need to address the concerns around flexible working, remuneration and progression to avoid becoming a statistic of the great resignation.

Find out how our award-winning, on-demand recruitment solutions can reshape the way you meet your hiring needs.

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