Forty million workers left their jobs during 2021 as they reevaluated their priorities and struck off to look for better pay, relief from burnout and a way to rejuvenate their careers.

In its report, What’s Next for the Great Resigners, the learning company Cengage Group found that while the Covid-19 pandemic put pressure on millions, its accompanying disruption provided workers with an opportunity to evaluate and assess their priorities and career options.

“Millions of workers are changing how they think about work, their purpose and the impact of their careers,” said Cengage Group CEO Michael E. Hansen.

That thinking is pushing great number of users into online courses. At LinkedIn, for example, more than 4.6 million professionals have watched the social network’s 20 most popular courses this year. Compared to 2021, hours spent learning increased 53%, the company said.

Moving On

A survey of 1,200 American adults who had quit their jobs during the previous six months or planned to quit at some point over the next six months found that burnout and pay were two driving forces behind the Great Resignation. Some 91% said they wanted to make more money, while 89% said they were burnt out or unsupported. Eighty-three percent while 83% felt they were no longer growing in their role.

Training offers a path to new opportunities, said Cengage Group (remember, they’re a learning company). At the time of the survey, 78% of the workers had completed or were enrolled in an online training course or certificate program, the report said. Such moves aren’t always inspired by a pure love of learning: 64% said having an online training program on their resume would be essential to landing a new job.

In part, many of these workers left their jobs because they felt their employer offered few chances for professional development. There  was also a feeling that they weren’t growing in their current positions.

And while good benefits (33%) and better pay (23%) were the most important attributes of these workers’ next roles, clear opportunities for professional growth was a factor for 22%.

By Mark Feffer

Mark Feffer is executive editor of RecruitingDaily and the HCM Technology Report. He’s written for TechTarget, HR Magazine, SHRM, Dice Insights, and TalentCulture, as well as Dow Jones, Bloomberg and Staffing Industry Analysts. He likes schnauzers, sailing and Kentucky-distilled beverages.


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