A record number of American workers are leaving their jobs in what has been dubbed the “Great Resignation.” While the pandemic has pushed many workers to rethink the role of work in their lives, employment research tells a more nuanced story than mainstream media.
The General Social Survey is a national survey that has been investigating American job satisfaction since 2002. It asks respondents about three key job factors: level of dissatisfaction with current work, turnover intention, and confidence in finding a new job.
In 2021, 83 percent of Americans reported being moderately or very satisfied with their job, compared to just a little more, 88 percent in 2002 when the survey began. On the flip side, the number of respondents with turnover intention was 19 percent in 2002. According to research from the University of Toronto, this rate jumped to 26 percent in 2020 and 29 percent in 2021.
This research demonstrates an interesting paradox: workers are still satisfied with their jobs, but more and more are seeking other opportunities. This data seems to portray the fact that although many people like their jobs, they are seeing more opportunities, flexibility, and setting new goals, pushing them to explore what better options may be out there.