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July 21, 2022

What Does It Mean To Drop Out Of A Job?

The job market is clearly going through a period of change. In what is being called the Great Resignation or the Great Renegotiation, millions of American workers are voluntarily leaving their jobs. In December 2021, a record 3.0% of workers chose to quit. In January 2022, the percentage of employees who quit dropped just slightly to 2.8%.

Why is this happening? The flight from workplaces has been attributed to several factors, including burnout, low pay, and the anti-work movement. In addition, a simple desire to change careers has driven many people to seek greener pastures.

At the same time, some older workers continue to find it hard to gain employment, although the pandemic has brought some out of retirement and back into the workforce. Therefore, there are two reasons why individuals are dropping out of jobs.

What the Statistics Show About Workers Quitting

The Hustle carried out a survey among just over 1,000 people who left their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 27% of respondents said they quit because they found a better-paying job, while approximately 17% said they landed a more rewarding job. Ten percent opted to pursue a new career path, and 8% said they quit because their job lacked flexible work arrangements.

Notably, another study referenced by Harvard Business Review found that 59% of respondents prioritized “flexibility” over salary or other benefits. Seventy-seven percent reported that they would rather work for an organization that allows them to work from anywhere rather than work from fancy headquarters. Respondents said they wanted greater autonomy over when and where they work.

Meanwhile, a Pew Research Center survey found that the main reasons why Americans quit their jobs in 2021 were:

  • Low salaries and wages
  • Inadequate opportunities for advancement
  • Feelings of disrespect in the workplace

Those who quit and found new jobs were more likely to be receiving increased pay, additional opportunities for advancement and greater flexibility, and work-life balance.

Workers under 30 were among those most likely to voluntarily leave their jobs. Thirty-seven percent of these young adults reported quitting compared to 17% of those between the ages of 30 and 49, 9% of those aged 50 to 64, and 5% of those aged 65 and older.

What About Those Losing Jobs?

Eighty percent of employment growth in the United Kingdom came from 50-plus employees prior to the pandemic. However, older workers were still more likely to be made redundant and be overlooked for training. Research now shows that the pandemic made these inequalities worse, and mature employees who lose their jobs are more likely to remain unemployed for an extended period.

When compared to other age cohorts, older people who are out of work are more than twice as likely to remain jobless for at least two years. Unemployment data from the Office for National Statistics show that individuals over the age of 50 make up 24% of unemployed people, and a third of them have been out of work for a year or more. Founder of Rest Less, Stuart Lewis, said this long-term unemployment could force people over 50 into early retirement.

However, there are still opportunities for those in mid- to late-career. Some older adults who lose their jobs are able to change careers or find a new job, while others decide to start their own businesses.

While some older adults have been pushed out of the labor force because of ageism, others are using the pandemic-fueled need for workers as an opportunity to find a new job or switch careers. Some are starting businesses of their own as an alternative to working for others.

This shows that dropping out of a job doesn’t have to mean the end of one’s professional life, even after the age of 50. With people living longer and retiring later out of either need or desire, exploring all options becomes a must.

The onus is on both mature individuals and employers to make sure that people over 50 continue to contribute to organizations and economies in some way. Research shows that hiring and retaining older employees and building multigenerational teams impact businesses positively.

Make Your Business More Age-Inclusive with Assistance from WiseForce Advisors

Let us help you to leverage all the advantages that 50-plus employers bring. We’ll assist you in assessing your existing age-management practices and then guide you in becoming more age-inclusive. Book a consultation today by emailing info@wiseforceadvisors.com.

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