A Whopping 50% of Americans Plan To Change Careers Due to COVID-Related Job Gripes

Shot of a businesswoman sitting behind her laptop in the office.
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Half of employed Americans intend to make career changes, citing the lack of empathy or the lack of flexibility in the workplace, according to a new survey.

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The survey follows the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey yesterday. The data reflects a similar trend, as there was an increase in “quits rates,” in August, with 2.9% of workers voluntarily quitting their jobs, according to the data.

The CNBC and global gender equality firm Catalyst report, “The Great Work/Life Divide: How employee desire for flexibility and employer concern is driving the future of work,” conducted by Harris Poll, shows that flexibility remains a top priority for employees. “Over half of the employees want to leave [their jobs], and there’s really two reasons that came out of the survey,” Catalyst President and CEO Lorraine Hariton told CNBC.

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“One is if they felt that their employers did not understand them, that they weren’t providing empathy. This is especially true for working parents, male or female. They didn’t feel good about the experience, and they’re looking to leave. The second thing is that people are really leaning into flexibility, whether that’s flexibility by location, by when they work, or how they work. They want to leave if the employer is not providing that.”

Related: Why Employers Need To Adapt to Employees Post-Pandemic

The report also shows that 41% of those surveyed say they are considering leaving their job because their company has not cared about their concerns during the pandemic and a whopping 76% say they want their company to make work permanently flexible in terms of schedule and/or location, according to CNBC.

Of the 50% of employed Americans who intend to make career changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic, 41% are seeking flexible and/or remote work, 39% desire a raise and/or promotion and 33% are interested in changing industries.

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“I think of this as the great reimagination of work, especially for office workers,” Hariton told CNBC. “And companies really have to respond to that.”

See: Study Indicates Millennials and Gen Z Plan To Retire Before Age 60 Thanks to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Learn: Applying for a Job? Even a White Lie on Your Resume Could Cost You the Position

In addition, 32% of employees who intend to make a career change because of the pandemic say they’re going to look for another job in the same industry, while about 22% say they are going to quit their current job and start their own business.

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Last updated: October 13, 2021

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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