66% of Employees Are Interested in Switching Careers Amid Pandemic

66% of Employees Are Interested in Switching Careers Amid Pandemic

Younger workers show greater interest in "YOLO quitting" their jobs
millennial frustrated with current job

The coronavirus pandemic has forced Americans to think about what they really want out of their work and their lives, and because of their updated priorities, people are switching jobs to ensure their careers align with their new way of thinking.

In its latest survey, financial company Personal Capital discovered that 57% of workers, including 66% of millennials, agree that "now would be a great time to make a career move."

As a result, two-thirds of respondents showed interest in quitting their jobs amid a pandemic-era movement that many have dubbed the "YOLO economy" and the "Great Resignation." Perhaps because they have less to lose by leaving their current employer, Gen Z (91%) and millennial (78%) workers are more likely to take the leap.

Workers willing to compromise a great deal for better perks in their next role

A recent Guardian survey showed that workers were more likely to stay with companies if they believed that they handled the pandemic well. Despite these sentiments, Personal Capital found that the majority (69%) of American workers believe that "employers are not great at hearing employees' post-COVID needs and expectations."

But that isn't the only reason driving workers to make the switch. Others include:

  • Higher salary (52%)
  • Better work-life balance (46%)
  • Better company values (35%)
  • Better benefits like health insurance and retirement plans (35%)
  • Burnout (34%)
  • Flexible remote work policy (34%)

Of course, seasoned employees know that some perks require a bit of compromise. The survey found that 63% of respondents — especially 85% of Gen Z and 74% of millennials — would be willing to trade existing benefits, including the following, for work-from-home accommodations:

  • More work hours per week (30%)
  • Reduced bonus (15%)
  • Lower quality health insurance (13%)
  • Less generous vacation policy (13%)

Another 62% of workers said they'd even take a pay cut to do so — a number that includes the majority of parent (72%), Latino (76%) and Black (75%) respondents.

Lack of savings dissuade many from quitting their job

Breaking up with an employer is still easier said than done, so Personal Capital also looked into the reasons why some workers hesitate to turn in their two-week notice. It found that:

  • 52% would quit if they had at least $50,000 in their bank account
  • 16% would quit if they had less than $10,000 in their bank account
  • 10% would quit if they had less than $5,000 in their bank account
  • 39% wouldn't retire early unless they had at least $1 million saved for retirement
  • 20% wouldn't retire early unless they had at least $2 million saved for retirement

And considering how the COVID-19 crisis had already wreaked havoc on people's savings, the caution is understandable. The survey revealed that nearly 6 in 10 Americans (59%) have enough savings to go without a regular paycheck for three months or less, while 22% wouldn't last a month based on their current finances.

Meanwhile, another survey from FlexJobs found that 42% of those unemployed as a result of the pandemic have been out of work for over a year.

These findings may point to why 70% of respondents say they "don't have the luxury of 'YOLO quitting' their job." Still, many of their peers are doing so anyway: Personal Capital revealed that 55% of respondents (and 65% of millennials) know someone who quit their job during the pandemic.

Methodology: The Harris Poll conducted an online survey of 933 U.S. employed residents on behalf of Personal Capital between July 29-Aug. 2, 2021. The generational breakdown for this survey sample is as follows:

  • Gen Z (18-24): 122
  • Millennials (25-40): 417
  • Gen X (41-56): 245
  • Baby boomers (57-75): 140