Why a third of American workers changed jobs during the Great Resignation
To stay or go?
- 38 percent of U.S. adults who are working said they had changed jobs in the past two years, in this latest poll. That number is similar to a January 2018 NPR/Marist poll, when 32 percent of employed Americans had recently changed jobs.
- Roughly half of people who make less than $75,000 a year – 46 percent – said they got new jobs. People who make $75,000 a year and up were less likely to have said the same thing, at 33 percent.
- Those aged 45 and under were twice as likely as those 45 or older to have switched jobs (48 percent versus 22 percent), and Gen Z and millennials were the group of Americans most likely to have changed jobs at 52 percent. Meanwhile, only 18 percent of Baby Boomers switched jobs.
Why people got new jobs
- The top reason people said they switched gigs in the last two years was for better pay. For nearly every demographic, better pay outranked other reasons for changing jobs, such as better opportunities, relocation, losing a previous job or looking for more flexible or remote work.
- Just under a quarter of people who said they switched jobs did it for better opportunities, while about one in 10 changed because they relocated or they lost their job.
- Other reasons people changed jobs included a reduction in hours or benefits, the option to work remotely or the option for more flexible hours, but those reasons represented much smaller groups of people.
- Better pay was the number one reason men changed jobs — at 15 percent – but the top reason for women was finding a better opportunity, at 9 percent. Just 7 percent of women said they changed jobs for better pay.
Who’s earning more
- 61 percent of workers said they got a pay raise in the last year, compared with 56 percent of employed people in 2018.
- 63 percent of employed men reported a pay raise in the last year compared to 58 percent of employed women.
- A much higher percentage of Gen Z and millennial workers reported pay raises than Baby Boomers – 70 percent versus 48 percent.
- People in lower-income households were less likely than those in higher-income households to have gotten a pay bump – 55 percent of workers making less than $75,000 got raises, but 66 percent of those who make $75,000 or more said the same.
- 68 percent of college grads reported getting a pay raise, compared with 54 percent of those who didn’t graduate college.
- Political affiliation wasn’t a good predictor of who changed jobs. But that’s not true with pay raises: 72 percent of Democrats reported getting a pay raise over the last year, compared with 51 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of independents.