Status: 01/18/2022 10:29 am
45 million Americans quit their jobs in 2021 – more than ever before. The topic of “career” has lost importance for many due to the pandemic. Employers now face a number of problems.
Tessa Raden had her dream job: she was a program manager in a cultural foundation in New York – with a good salary, an apartment in Manhattan and lots of cocktail dresses in the closet.
But the 33-year-old suddenly couldn’t wear the chic clothes anymore – because her foundation switched operations completely to virtual. And Tessa was no longer traveling across the US to match actors with educational jobs. Instead, she was stuck on the screen in her home office and tried to organize financial aid for rent and food for her customers who were suddenly unemployed – and to comfort them.
Tessa says, “I’m not a social worker. What I enjoyed most about my job was being able to meet people face-to-face. And I’d lost that part of my job completely. And instead I had to do things that are emotionally very difficult.”
In 2021 more people quit than ever before
In the summer, the 33-year-old pulled the ripcord and, for the first time in her life, did nothing for a while. Tessa is not alone: in 2021, over 45 million Americans resigned – more than ever.
Some have taken early retirement. In 2021, more than twice as many people were retiring than expected.
For example, Scott and Mary Banks from Georgia: She quit her job as a real estate agent, he in finance. They swapped their house for an RV and drove off. Thanks to the pandemic, they have realized how short life can be, Scott, 57, says on local television: “Wouldn’t it be a tragedy if you live so long towards retirement and then you die of a terrible disease before it is it ready?”
Women with children often have no choice
Not everyone actually left the labor market voluntarily during the pandemic. Women with children, for example, often had no choice, says Boston-based labor market researcher David Blustein. Because schools and kindergartens were suddenly closed.
Blustein says: “I think women will come back in larger numbers as soon as we manage the pandemic better. The fact that so many women have resigned is more of a temporary phenomenon because they had to take care of the children or their relatives.”
Layoffs in hospitality and retail
There are now millions more vacancies than people looking for a job. And the termination rates are particularly high in the hospitality and retail sectors – that is, for poorly paid jobs that are particularly dangerous in the pandemic, says Blustein.
“People are giving up their precarious jobs. And that’s why wages are rising now. It’s a systemic intervention by workers. They’re making a very strong statement that the neoliberal economic policies of the past 40 years have hurt them.”
“We are not our job”
Tessa now has a job again, mixing drinks in a restaurant – right across the street. Because she deals directly with people there. And she calmly thinks about how to proceed: “People like me finally understand that we have a job and are not our job. And I think employers are starting to make sure that they are more considerate of the needs of their employees I think I have a lot more room to negotiate than I did before the pandemic.”
The Great Resignation – Why Americans Quit Their Jobs
Julia Kastein, ARD Washington, January 18, 2022 09:02 a.m