Historical Resignation in the U.S.: Why People Don’t Feel Satisfied With Their Jobs

A server simultaneously struggling to reach groceries and do her job at the same time.

Job satisfaction levels in the United States dipped steadily as more and more professionals resigned due to fatigue, dissatisfaction, or unfulfillment. The U.S. labor system suffered considerable damage, but the origins of this phenomenon run much more profound.

The job satisfaction rate in the U.S. is unusual and interesting; 33 percent of its workers felt “very satisfied” with their jobs in 2018. However, in 2020, that number rose to 56.9 percent despite the economic crisis, massive layoffs, and rising unemployment (Statista Research Department).


What Pushes Professionals to Quit?


There are many reasons why professionals and workers quit their job. These reasons entail underlying causes that may hint at bigger issues. Nevertheless, there has been an uptick in people leaving their occupations due to personal or external reasons. Let’s see what this means.


A New Vision on How Work Fits in Their Lives


Professionals no longer perceive their jobs with the same sense of belonging or degree of priority as a few years ago. It is common to see people shifting from rudimentary work to technology or remote work occupations in search of better and more meaningful occupations. Examples of those jobs include web developers, social media managers, and digital marketers.

Physical and mental exhaustion, stress, and low wages demotivate many people and force them to think about new career paths. Switching between different sectors has been a prevalent trend.

A server simultaneously struggling to reach groceries and do her job at the same time.
A server simultaneously struggling to reach groceries and do her job at the same time. Illustration by Sketchcatch.

Wages Are not Keeping Up with Surging Prices


A minimum-wage worker in the U.S. does not have sufficient funds to cover daily and monthly living costs. The increase in median income for the population saw a measly rise compared to the skyrocketing inflation increase. Research indicates a salary increase of 4.3 percent for private and industry workers (Levanon Ph.D. et al.).

In light of this, wages did not grow as fast as inflation. The annual inflation rate surged to 6.2 percent in the U.S. last October 2021 (Desilver). This is almost a two percent gap in the wage increase. This also means that workers lose two percent of their buying power as prices surge.


Lack of Opportunities for Career Growth


There has been a creeping scarcity in the lack of opportunities for job growth. According to a Gartner Survey, 42 percent of workers are “passively open” to new career opportunities (Morris). However, young professionals don’t see the potential benefit for their economic development in current job offers. For that reason, many prefer to resign or shift to industries with better job outlooks.

People have been looking for jobs that provide meaningful work. They look for things that help them upskill and grow. An example of avenues that can potentially provide career growth is coding boot camps.

Coding bootcamps provide the necessary tools for job seekers to be job-ready individuals for tech careers. Examples of bootcamps are App Academy and Coding Dojo. Depending on the time commitment, these typically last between 17 to 34 weeks.


Most Turnover is in Low-Wage Sectors


Most employers in the low-wage sectors focus on having high numbers in their workforce rather than investing in optimizing wages. Major causes of high employee turnover are job dissatisfaction and low compensation. This prompted workers in these sectors to resign and seek better employment.


Moreover, there is high demand in these low-wage industries.

According to an article by The New York Times, despite this information, job rotation has been concentrated in the hospitality industry and other low-wage sectors (Casselman).


What Do People Think of Before Leaving a Job?


  • Better Options: Explore any possibility of changing working methods or conditions so that you can feel more comfortable with your job position. For example, look into remote work, a flexible schedule, and project-based employment.
  • Crafting an Ideal Job Description: Sit down to think, analyze, and write what your ideal job would be like. You can look for a job offer that fits your professional profile and technical skills based on these criteria.
  • Asking for Recommendations: Build meaningful relationships with team members. Having contacts can give you a boost in the job market.



There’s no single verdict to determine why the ‘Great Resignation’ phenomenon arose in the U.S. Labor market trends have changed as employers accommodate new prospects and acquire better talent. These professionals that shift in jobs to different industries may bear fruit into innovative ways of doing work and has the possibility of changing the philosophy of what it means to work.


  1. “App Academy Reviews: Cost, Courses, and Outcomes.” n.d. Careerkarma.com. Accessed April 11, 2022. https://careerkarma.com/schools/app-academy/.
  2. “Best Coding Bootcamps 2022 | Career Karma.” n.d. Careerkarma.com. Accessed April 11, 2022. https://careerkarma.com/rankings/best-coding-bootcamps/.
  3. Casselman, Ben. 2022. “More Workers Quit than Ever as U.S. Job Openings Remain near a Record.” The New York Times, January 4, 2022, sec. Business. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/04/business/economy/job-openings-coronavirus.html.
  4. “Coding Dojo Reviews: Cost, Courses, and Outcomes.” n.d. Careerkarma.com. Accessed April 11, 2022. https://careerkarma.com/schools/coding-dojo/.
  5. DeSilver, Drew. 2021. “Inflation Has Risen around the World, but the U.S. Has Seen One of the Biggest Increases.” Pew Research Center. November 24, 2021. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/11/24/inflation-has-risen-around-the-world-but-the-u-s-has-seen-one-of-the-biggest-increases/.
  6. Levanon, Gad, Amy Lui Abel, Allen Li, and Calvin Rong. 2021. “Job Satisfaction 2021.” Conference-Board.org. 2021. https://www.conference-board.org/research/job-satisfaction/job-satisfaction-2021-report.
  7. Liu, Jonathan. 2021. “2021’S Hot Wage Growth Will Likely Cool by Year’s End—before Surging Again by 2023.” The Conference Board. September 14, 2021. https://www.conference-board.org/press/why-wages-are-growing-rapidly.
  8. Morris, Sarah. 2018. “Lack of Career Development Drives Employee Attrition.” Gartner. September 25, 2018. https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/lack-of-career-development-drives-employee-attrition.
  9. “U.S. Economy: Satisfaction of Employees with Current Job 2018.” n.d. Statista. Accessed April 11, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/916247/us-economy-satisfaction-employees-current-job/.



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