The Great Resignation is one of the Internet’s favorite buzzwords. Everyone’s curious why people are quitting their jobs on a mass scale, discussing what ex-corporate employees get up to once they quit their 9-to-5, and wondering whether or not it’s a viable option for them.
Why are so many people quitting their jobs? Are there more opportunities out there for me? Should I quit my job?
In case you’ve asked yourself these questions and are currently uncertain about whether or not you have enough reasons for leaving a job, check out VistaCreate’s study of the Great Resignation phenomenon and its correlation to another huge 2022 trend, the Entrepreneurial Push.
These findings will reveal the exact reasons why so many people decided to quit, why they did so, the struggles they came across along the way, and how they’re managing their newly founded businesses.
What is the Great Resignation?
The Great Resignation, also commonly referred to as the Big Quit, is a term used to describe the ongoing economic tendency for corporate employees to voluntarily leave their jobs en masse.
The term for this socio-cultural phenomenon was coined by Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at University College London’s School of Management, back in May 2021, when he predicted a mass-scale churn of the workforce from the world corporate job market.
“The great resignation is coming,” Klotz said in the Bloomberg article. “When there’s uncertainty, people tend to stay put, so there are pent-up resignations that didn’t happen over the past year.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is often quoted as the cause of the so-called Great Resignation. However, there are grounds to believe that the coronavirus pandemic is merely a catalyst that put it in motion. The real reason everyone is quitting their job is more complex and consists of a combination of different reasons, such as wage stagnation in the middle of the ever-rising cost of living, long-lasting job dissatisfaction, and the desire to improve work-life balance.
Why did we decide to create this report?
The majority of online discussions surrounding the topic of the Great Resignation focus on the negative consequences of this economic trend — the ever-growing number of understaffed enterprises that failed to retain talent, to be more precise. However, we believe that every coin has two sides, so it’s wrong to assume that this phenomenon is entirely negative.
In fact, when producing our most recent VistaCreate x Trendhunter report on the socio-cultural trends impacting businesses in 2022, we noticed that one of the biggest trends that go hand in hand with the Great Resignation is the rise of entrepreneurship in the UK and the USA.
In 2020, the number of new businesses created reached an unprecedented number of 4.4 million in the US alone. The following year broke this record, with nearly 5.4 million applications filed across the United States, the most in any given calendar year so far.
One of the most peculiar details regarding the Entrepreneurial Push trend is that it wasn’t seasoned entrepreneurs and organizational leaders launching new businesses. On the contrary, it was regular 9-to-5 workers with no prior entrepreneurship experience pursuing their dreams in the remore work circumstances.
We found the link between the two trends interesting enough to be investigated. So, we decided to reach out to these pandemic-born entrepreneurs and learn more about them: what prompted many employees to quit their corporate jobs, the key motivations behind their entrepreneurial decisions, their journey towards establishing a business of their own, including the main obstacles they faced, and where they’re headed to now.
The methodology: How did we find out the reasons for people quitting jobs?
The data for this report was collected by VistaCreate and Kantar research agency between March 3, 2022 and May 3, 2022. The online survey was distributed via Kantar digital platform and Voxpopme video survey platform. It had 4,000 qualified respondents from the UK (2,000) and the US (2,000). The respondents included those who quit their jobs and started their own business during the last two years during the pandemic, as well as those who had kept their full-time job while launching their own business. Quotes and stories have been pulled from open responses.
The Great Resignation Statistics 2022: How the labor market is changing
Based on the responses we received from entrepreneurs that participated in the survey, it’s possible to make a series of conclusions regarding the Great Resignation:
1. Employees found opportunities among struggles during COVID-19
During the pandemic, over half of the respondents decided to start a side hustle (68%) or a new business (53%). Many picked up new hobbies (60%), found more time to spend on social media (58%), and adapted healthier habits (55%).
2. Job safety is still a priority
While a lot of people found the courage to leave their corporate job to pursue their entrepreneurial dream, many didn’t want to compromise their job safety and abandon their current jobs completely. Therefore, a large part of the respondents embarked on their new entrepreneurial projects, while either keeping their full-time jobs (24%) or working part-time (27%).
3. A large percentage of workers quitting their jobs switched from finance to more creative industries
Many sectors have suffered an accelerated worker quit rate. But the industry that witnessed the highest workforce resignation rate was business and finance (13%). Workers from those sectors left their corporate employers to pursue a career in the arts and design (15%) industry.
4. A desire to try something new was among the top personal reasons for leaving a job
According to the survey, almost half of the respondents have always wanted to try something new (47%), and for over a third of them (34%), starting a business of their own has always been their dream. In addition, nearly a third of respondents have admitted to losing interest in their previous industry (27%) or wanting a pay rise a corporate job simply couldn’t accommodate for.
5. The largest factor that stopped workers quitting jobs during the Great Resignation from doing it earlier was lack of money
The most frequent obstacle that stood between employees and their dreams of starting something new was a lack of money (45%), not knowing where to start (37%), and the fear of taking a big risk (39%).
6. Employees collectively decided to follow their dreams and seek better work-life balance
Some of the most commonly cited reasons for wanting to break free from the corporate lifestyle are wanting a better work-life balance (47%), employees leaving their jobs with ideas they came up with during the pandemic (49%), or pursuing ideas they already had in mind (51%).
7. The problem Great Resignation entrepreneurs struggle with most is finding clients
Taking care of a brand new business brought common struggles to the surface, such as finding clients (48%), cash flow (48%), and design-related issues (35%).
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8. The problem Great Resignation entrepreneurs struggle with most is finding clients
The majority (64%) of respondents claimed that social media played a huge role in establishing their businesses, with social media-based advertising having the most (68%) positive impact on newly-created companies.
What’s also interesting about the Great Resignation-born entrepreneurs is that the majority of them are Millennials (21% of the newly-established businesses are owned by people between the ages of 25 and 34), and the gender gap is insignificant. There are equally as many males as there are females among 9-to-5-workers-turned-entrepreneurs (only 1% of the respondents identify as non-binary).
As for the people that ex-corporate employees team up with to start businesses… Most new businesses consist of 2-5 people; newly established entrepreneurs either bring in their friends and family as employees, or more commonly as professional freelancers.
Learn more about the Great Resignation 2022 in numbers in our report: even more meaningful figures and quotes from real new small business owners will give you a better understanding of the phenomenon and how to seize new opportunities if you’re in the same boat.