The Great Resignation of 2021

A spike in the increase of resignations across the country indicates 55% of Americans are likely to find a new job within the next few months

A popular “era-defining term” is being used to describe the recent record-breaking numbers of Americans quitting their jobs.

Although the trendline for people leaving their jobs has increased steadily since 2009, a giant spike can be seen within the last four months according to a chart in a Business Insider article. This increasing trendline and new spike are now being called “The Great Resignation,” or as others have called it, “The Big Quit.”

CNBC says the unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.4% in July, but still remains higher than before the start of the pandemic. Individuals that claimed unemployment insurance benefits fell to 2.82 million in the second week of August, although it is still elevated.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 millions Americans quit their jobs in July 2021, which led to a record-breaking 10.9 million jobs open. The number of resignations peaked back in April 2020 and have continued to remain abnormally high for the last several months.

Some 55% of people in the workforce are likely to find a new job within the next few months, according to Bankrate’s Aug. jobseeker survey, published Aug. 23.

“There have been a lot of epiphanies and reckonings that have occurred during the time with respect to how we’re ultimately prioritizing our values, and of course how work fits into that,” Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, told CNBC.

Trends in various age groups

According to a study conducted by a Visier team and a Harvard Business Review article, employees between ages 30 and 45 years old have had the greatest increase in resignation rates, with an average increase of more than 20% between 2020 and 2021. It is said that the reason for the millennial majority group’s increase of resignation is because of the new opportunities for mid-level employees opening elsewhere, uncertainty caused by the pandemic and some have reached a breaking point from constant high workload pressures.

Taking a look at the turnover for younger employees, many may be surprised to see that over the last year, resignations actually decreased for workers in the 20 to 25 age range, also known as the younger millennials. According to the HBR article, the reason for this trend is “likely due to the combination of their greater financial uncertainty and reduced demand for entry-level workers.”

Employees in the 25 to 30 and 45+ age groups show high resignation rates from 2020, however the increase is not as large as the 30 to 45 group. And, as for the 60 to 70 age group, the Boomers, resignation rates fell according to the study.

Trends in the industries

The study also found “dramatic differences in turnover rates between companies in different industries.” A slight decrease of resignation rates for industries such as manufacturing and finance was identified. However, for the healthcare industry, 3.6% of employees quit their jobs in 2020. Resignations in tech have also increased by 4.5%.

Increased workloads and burnout caused by the pandemic can account for the resignation increase among jobs that were in high demand during the pandemic.

According to CNBC, 52% of those making $30,000 or less still put flexibility as their top reason to look for a new job over higher pay while 40% of consumers said they’re considering changing jobs in the next six months, seeking desires of remote work, career advancement and flexibility.

North Dakota State University and their employment situation

As mentioned previously, the college-aged 20 to 25 group are observed to have a decrease in resignations over the last year. NDSU saw a worker shortage as the school year began, but is now seeing students flood into the jobs.

According to a previous article, Mark Genkinger, Director of Human Resources at NDSU, said the university saw some reduction in the number of applicants, but as students flooded back to campus, the positions started to fill again.

“Some areas have had issues filling some of their student employee positions, especially this summer at the Wellness Center, but they are seeing more improvement in this area since school has resumed and students are back on campus,” Genkinger said in a previous article.

For students that seek to find employment on campus, apply for openings via Handshake at and faculty, staff, administrative and part-time positions can be found at

“It is a great place for those just starting their careers or those that are experienced,” said Genkinger. “NDSU is the second largest employer in the community that offers numerous opportunities in many career fields that support higher education. We offer competitive wages along with an excellent benefits package including 100% paid health premiums and tuition assistance for both employees and family members.”

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