Why Are People Quitting Their Jobs?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 3.9 million people quit their jobs in April 2021. These numbers reflect typical high turnover in retail, warehousing and food service industries but also show a surge in workers leaving office jobs.  The number of job postings also hit a record high of 695,000 resulting in more open positions than unemployed workers. Here are the top reasons people are leaving their jobs:


Not everyone is eager to return to an office setting. They worry about taking public transportation, being around unvaccinated people and having personal interactions. Mental health experts suggest employers should be prepared for anxiety among their workers. Some people have really struggled with mental health issues during the pandemic, lost family members or have lingering health issues from Covid-19. 

Remote Work

Last year was a loss in so many ways but a gain in other respects. Those who had the luxury of working from home gained more control of their time. The ability to spend more time with family, cook meals, practice self-care, and reduce living expenses were significant gains.

In a recent survey, close to half of respondents said they want to work a hybrid schedule of in-person and remote. Some said they would consider taking a small pay cut to make that happen. Millennials and Gen Z workers are much more likely to quit if their employers are not flexible about remote work.  As employers begin to shift staff back to offices, it will be important to communicate reopening plans, work expectations and a willingness to accommodate employees’ individual situations.

Organizations are going to need to be inventive with their recruitment and retention strategies if they want to hire and keep the best staff. Baby-boomers who are wanting to continue to work may want reduced hours. Other options being discussed are four-day work weeks and sabbaticals. If someone is ready for a change, then there is not much an employer can do to change their mind.   

 Changing Careers

During the pandemic, people have had time to think about their jobs and what direction they want to take their careers. Some are changing careers to achieve work-life balance, secure a remote schedule, or explore an entirely new industry. Others are free-lancing so they have more control over their time. Experts warn employers not to take too hard a stance about business going back to normal or they risk losing employees.


Many workers are just burned-out from the intense workload from the past year. During the pandemic, some have been able to save money with reduced expenses during lockdown, financial stimulus checks, and a great return on investments. Those with healthy savings accounts are in a better position to take a break from work all-together. Many are wanting to relax, travel, enjoy the summer and contemplate their next job move.

Nearly 3 million women have left the workforce since March of 2020. Some have been furloughed or laid-off while others found it too difficult to juggle the demands of working from home, parenting, childcare, and home schooling. Women in general, and women of color, make up a high percentage of low-paying essential jobs. These types of jobs do not have an option for remote work which causes an additional struggle to balance demands. 

In summary, the historic levels of job openings combined with low unemployment are driving the quitting trend. Workers are looking for jobs that center on work-life balance, remote flexibility, that pay well, and have opportunities to learn and advance.


Contributed by: Amy Noel