: The No. 1 reason workers are considering switching jobs

United States

Many workers are ready to bounce.

Some 95% of respondents in a new survey were “currently considering changing jobs,” and 92% said they would switch industries to get a new job. 

Worker burnout has risen in varying degrees during the pandemic as many employees are saddled with additional domestic responsibilities, blurred work-life boundaries, frontline-work stress and wall-to-wall Zoom ZM, -0.24% meetings. American workers were already vulnerable to burnout even before COVID-19 upended work and life.

Burnout is marked by exhaustion or energy depletion, heightened mental distance or negative or cynical feelings related to a job.

The top reason fueling these workers’ potential exit was burnout from their current jobs (32%), according to poll of 649 employed workers carried out by the job site Monster.com in June. Another 29% cited a lack of opportunities for job growth. 

About two-thirds of respondents said they believed job opportunities were available right now, but about the same share said they were experiencing “application fatigue” from applying to lots of jobs while receiving little employer feedback. 

Burnout is an occupational phenomenon defined as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed,” according to the World Health Organization. It’s marked by exhaustion or energy depletion, heightened mental distance or negative or cynical feelings related to a job, and “reduced professional efficacy.”

Some companies have introduced perks aimed at alleviating burnout: Citigroup’s C, +2.58% CEO in March, for example, introduced “Zoom-Free Fridays” to counter “the relentlessness of the pandemic workday.” The dating-app company Bumble BMBL, +5.99% gave employees a paid week off last month to combat pandemic burnout.

Post-pandemic pivot

Monster’s latest poll didn’t include details on how seriously this overwhelming share of workers was considering switching jobs. But previous surveys have offered similar findings, albeit in more moderate numbers. 

Citigroup’s introduced ‘Zoom-Free Fridays’ in March to counter ‘the relentlessness of the pandemic workday.’

For example, some 41% of the global workforce “is likely to consider leaving their current employer” over the next year, and 46% are looking to make a big career pivot or transition, according to Microsoft’s MSFT, +0.19% 2021 Work Trend Index study released in March. Overall, 54% of respondents said they felt overworked and 39% felt exhausted.

A recent Prudential PRU, +3.53% survey conducted by Morning Consult found that almost half of American workers were reconsidering the kind of job they want in the future, and some 53% even said they’d retrain for a career in a different industry if given the chance. 

Meanwhile, many people have grown attached to remote work: Nearly four in 10 U.S. adults in a Morning Consult survey conducted for Bloomberg News in May said they would think of quitting if their company was inflexible about working from home — a sentiment shared in greater numbers by millennials and Gen Z respondents.

Workers appear to have gained newfound leverage as the economy recovers from the pandemic recession and businesses reopen. Government data show a record number of Americans are quitting their jobs — nearly 4 million people quit their jobs in April — potentially to pursue better or more lucrative positions or to rethink their career path.