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'Great Resignation' gains steam as return-to-work plans take effect

CNBC logo CNBC 6/29/2021 Jessica Dickler
  • Instead of heading back to the office in the wake of the Covid pandemic, employees may quit instead.
  • In what's being called the "Great Resignation," 95% of workers are considering changing jobs, according to a report by Monster.com. 
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Before Covid, Blaze Bullock, 34, was on the road one week a month as a marketing consultant in the auto industry.

Then, when the country shut down, Bullock began working remotely. "Now they want me to start traveling again and visiting car dealerships," he said. "I don't want to do that at all."

Bullock said he likes working from home and spending more time with his friends and family in Salt Lake City. "I realized this is the only way I want to live."

The pandemic has caused a lot of people to reevaluate, particularly when it comes to work.

a person sitting on a leather couch: After working from home for over a year, Blaze Bullock says he'd like to freelance full-time or at least find a position that's entirely remote – and he's seen plenty of those types of openings. © Provided by CNBC After working from home for over a year, Blaze Bullock says he'd like to freelance full-time or at least find a position that's entirely remote – and he's seen plenty of those types of openings.

After spending more than a year at home, some don't want to go back to commuting, preferring the flexibility of remote work at least a few days a week.

Others are simply burned out from logging long hours while also balancing child care and remote school, sometimes all at once.

And nearly all employees are ready to see what else is out there.

"Either they're unfulfilled from their jobs or their priorities have changed," said Maria Reitan, founder and head coach at Jump Team, based in Minneapolis.

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In what's been dubbed the "Great Resignation," a whopping 95% of workers are now considering changing jobs, and 92% are even willing to switch industries to find the right position, according to a recent report by jobs site Monster.com. 

Most say burnout and lack of growth opportunities are what is driving the shift, Monster found. 

"When we were in the throes of the pandemic, so many people buckled down, now what we're seeing is a sign of confidence," said Scott Blumsack, senior vice president of research and insights at Monster.

Already, a record 4 million people quit their jobs in April alone, according to the Labor Department.

At the same time, there are more opportunities for job seekers — with the Labor Department reporting a record 9.3 million job openings as of the latest tally.  

"The number of open jobs is higher than ever before, that's absolutely contributing to why candidates are putting their toe in the water to see what's out there," Blumsack said.

As Covid vaccinations gain steam, so are plans to return to the office, which is driving more workers to consider their options.

In a survey of more than 350 CEOs and human resources and finance leaders, 70% said they plan to have employees back in the office by the fall of this year — if not sooner — according to a report by staffing firm LaSalle Network.

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Of the companies that are planning for office reentry, managing employees who want to continue working remotely is a top concern, LaSalle Network found.    

"If we see a wave of employees leaving, companies are going to have to figure it out," Reitan said.

Now, 9 out of 10 organizations will be combining remote and on-site working, according to a separate McKinsey survey. Most companies, however, said they've haven't hammered out the specifics of what that will look like.   

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