The Great Resignation in fact the Great Transition – 10 facts you need to know

The Great Resignation or the Big Quit or the Great Attrition – however you want to call it was one of the most surprising pandemic trends. Very few would have expected that, in the wake of one of the most uncertain and stressful periods in our history, people would leave secure jobs. Yet, when people voted with their feet, walking out of workplaces, a significant and surprising trend emerged itself.


What has been less obvious and clearly not as much of a buzzword is what these individuals do. They are in transition. Mostly, moving moved onto something different – in a new company, new industry or a new context. Many are using the opportunity to renegotiate their own terms of employment – either in the traditional workplace or by starting out on their own. If you add in role changes within the same company, which the data doesn’t capture, I would say we are seeing one of the biggest mass movements in history in terms of vocation. The Great Resignation is in fact The Great Transition. A trend whose implications we have not even begun to understand but will undoubtedly be deep and far-reaching.  


Here are 10 facts you need to know:

Employees continue to leave the workforce in record numbers

  • More than 19 million US workers—and counting—have quit their jobs since April 2021
  • Employee resignation numbers continue to hit new records for the 8th month in a row.
  • The top three reasons employees left their organization in the past six months were not feeling valued by the organization (54 percent) or their manager (52 percent) and not having a sense of belonging (51 percent).

The trend started in US, but by now is undoubtedly global, affecting all parts of the world

  • In Europe, about 20 million fewer people are in work than before the coronavirus struck
  • In Latin America and the Caribbean, 26 million people lost their jobs last year amid pandemic-era shutdowns
  • Open roles are at an all-time high in India, especially tech hiring is at unprecedented rates, with top five IT companies hiring around 1.7 lakh people in 2021

Individuals are choosing for more autonomy, higher pay and better flexibility

  • 31 percent of employees who left their job in the past six months did so to start a new business.
  • Workers who switch jobs almost always earn bigger raises than those who stay at the same firm, but that gap is now the widest in more than 2 decades
  • Jobs with clear flexible working options attracted up to 30 per cent more applicants than those that did not

Positive feedback loops cause vicious cycles

  • Half of U.S. workers describe their companies as being understaffed, creating increased workloads for those who stay, prompting to them to consider leaving.

Data in this space is confusing, and scattered. It is hard to get a clear picture, as I waded through reports I found even contradictory information. Above is what I thought are reliable sources, summarized, so we can start making sense of what’s happening around us in the workplace. So what does this mean for you and me – I will explore that in later articles. But one thing is for sure – employees and employers will be wise not to ignore this trend, and learn to thrive with transitions.




  1. The brave new (business) world | McKinsey & Company
  2. Americans Quit at Record Highs for 8 Months, Labor Shortages Stay (
  3. The brave new (business) world | McKinsey & Company
  4. The ‘Great Resignation’ goes global – The Washington Post
  5. The ‘Great Resignation’ goes global – The Washington Post
  6. Top five Indian IT firms added 1.7 lakh employees between January and September 2021 (
  7. The brave new (business) world | McKinsey & Company
  8. 5 charts that explain inflation, wages, supply chains and restaurants – The Washington Post
  9. Prompting employers to state flexible working options leads to 20 per cent boost in ads offering flexibility, analysis finds (
  10. A vicious job market feedback loop is making Great Resignation worse (