The Great Resignation Through the Eyes of Workers

"I Quit" written on post-it note

Low pay and little opportunity for advancement are among the top reasons workers across the U.S. said they quit their jobs in what is being dubbed as the great resignation. 

The national quits rate reached 3% in November of 2021, the highest on record since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began collecting data in 2000.

Great Resignation: Why workers quit in 2021

The rate fell slightly to 2.9% in December, with 4.3 million Americans resigning their jobs that month. Connecticut’s quits rate is 2.4%, tied for third lowest in the U.S.

(Connecticut’s major challenge is its shrinking labor force, which has declined 4.3% since February 2020, representing 46% of the region’s losses and 14% of the national decline.)

Sixty-three percent of people who quit their job in 2021 said it was because of low pay, according to a February Pew Research Center survey 

The same percentage cited no opportunities for advancements. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they felt disrespected at work. 

It comes at a time when employers are finding themselves reevaluating merit based increases. 

A January Mercer study found that roughly half of employers did not plan additional reviews or salary increases to address inflation this year.


“People’s expectations are growing and it’s important to be mindful of that as you look to attract and retain and also develop your workforce,” principal Mercer consultant Vlad Gogish said during CBIA’s Leadership Essentials webinar last month. 

Pay and career advancements are not the only reasons driving workers to quit their jobs. 

Pew found 48% of respondents cited childcare as a reason they quit their job in 2021, which is becoming a key issue in Connecticut policy discussions.

Similarly, nearly half of people said a lack of flexibility to choose working hours and not having good benefits contributed to them parting ways with their job. Paid time off is among those benefits.

COVID Impact

Pew researchers said only 31% of people surveyed said the coronavirus pandemic was related to their decision to quit.

Based on the Pew study, more than half of workers who quit their jobs have found something new. 

Of those, 61% of people said it was at least somewhat easy to find a new job.

Only 31% of people surveyed said COVID-19 was related to their decision to quit.

Thirty-three percent of those surveyed said it was very easy to attain a new position.

Gender often dominates statistical gaps between men and women in the workforce.

Six-in-10 men said finding their current job makes it easier to balance work and family life, while 48% of women said it is easier to manage.


The latest Pew research shows educational gaps contributed significantly to jobs changes and successes in the past two years.

Young adults with a four-year college degree said they are earning more money and finding new opportunities to advance their careers since quitting their job in 2021 and taking on something new. 

In comparison to those who do not have a college degree, they were less likely to earn more money than their previous job, based on Pew’s findings. 

Study participants said their new job offers similar assets as their previous one with the exception of work and family balance. 


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