What Is the Great Resignation of 2021?


In April of 2021, more than 4 million Americans quit their jobs, and when surveyed in July, 41% of the global workforce planned to quit or change professions – 38% of them within 6 months to a year. Economists have dubbed this phenomenon the “Great Resignation” of 2021.

As Investopedia explains:

The Great Resignation describes the higher-than-normal quit rate of American workers in the spring and summer of 2021 as vaccination eased the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the unemployment rate decreased, and job openings increased.”

Why Did People Quit?

Most workers made the decision to quit based on how their employers treated them during the pandemic. Employees who felt burnt out our taken advantage of left in droves, especially those in the retail and service industries.

Other workers changed fields or quit to pursue “dream jobs” in different industries. Some quit because they did not feel safe returning to the physical workplace or wanted to eliminate their commutes with remote work. According to CNBC, 56% of Americans cited flexibility as their primary reason to look for a new job.

Workers Have More Leverage Than Ever Before

Unless employers violate state or federal employment laws, they often have more power when negotiating with their employees. With mass labor shortages and the Great Resignation, however, employers are struggling to retain workers and attract new ones.

As such, they are forced to listen to employee concerns and realize that “the thing people care about most is how companies treat their employees.” The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the importance of work-life balance – and the fact that employees are not machines.

If you have a reasonable request for your employer, now is the time to ask. You may even want to recruit your coworkers for support. Remember, your employer cannot fire you for unionizing.

What to Do as an Employer

Give employees a break and more support and listen to what they have to say. Be flexible if you can and try offering remote work or hybrid options. Reevaluate the compensation and benefits you offer and pay special attention to paid time off.

Always make sure to execute new benefits fairly and avoid discrimination. Document all new policies in your employee handbook and clarify company expectations for working remotely. While you don’t want employees to quit, you also don’t want a wrongful termination case on your hands.

What to Do as an Employee

Before leaving your job, consider your decision carefully and make sure you have enough savings in place to pay for essentials. Alternatively, you can secure another position before you quit.

In either case, make sure you know what you do and do not want and be prepared for a competitive job market. Learn how to network, negotiate, and advertise your hard and soft skills.

Whatever you do, avoid breaking an employment contract without speaking to an attorney first.

Our breach of contract attorneys at Donati Law, PLLC can help you leave a contract job legally via an early termination clause or renegotiation. We have been handling situations like yours for more than 35 years, and we are ready to help you accomplish your goals.

If you’d like us to take a look at your employment contract and advise you of your rights and legal options, please call us at (901) 209-5500 or contact us online today.

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