The Great Resignation is estimated to have caused over 47 million Americans to voluntarily quit their jobs in 2021, and the end of March 2022 saw 14.1% more voluntary exits than when compared to the same month in 2021. Employees are clearly unhappy, and they’re more than happy to leave their roles to prove it.
In order to understand what the main reasons for people leaving their jobs during The Great Resignation are, we analyzed thousands of social media posts on Twitter and Reddit between March 2021 – May 2022 to find out.
- Employees suffering from burnout and mental health problems is the most common (15.75%) reason for them to quit during The Great Resignation.
- A poor manager is the second most common reason for someone to quit their job, with bad behavior (25.29%) and not respecting a work-life balance (10.92%) the most frequently mentioned issues with bosses.
- One in ten (10.57%) social media posts about quitting jobs are due to the employee disagreeing with their workplace’s COVID vaccination/mask enforcement, this was the third most frequent reason mentioned for leaving a job.
- Discrimination is the 8th most-common reason (4.04%), with 31.25% of those posts relating to racism in the workplace.
- The 9th most frequently mentioned reason (3.75%) someone quits is due to having a successful side hustle they could can replace their job with.
Why are employees quitting their jobs during The Great Resignation?
The data from our study of thousands of social media posts about quitting jobs showed shows that the main reason people are leaving their jobs during The Great Resignation is due to burnout or mental health problems, with 15.75% of social media posts stating this as the final straw that made them leave.
The second most common reason mentioned is employees having problems with their managers (13.86%), and the third most common reason is people disagreeing with their workplace enforcing COVID rules around vaccinations and masks (10.57%).
Comparatively, only 1.43% of social media posts discussed employees being worried about a COVID risk at work. Therefore, the data clearly shows a louder majority frustrated with rules and mandates than worried about illness or risk.
You can see the full top 30 reasons people are quitting during The Great Resignation in the table below.
|Rank||Reason for Quitting||Share of Social Media Posts (%)|
|1||Burnout or Mental Health Issues||15.75%|
|17||Working while sick||1.18%|
|19||No remote working||0.97%|
|29||Lack of promotion||0.13%|
Data note: Percentages do not add up to 100% as there were more than 30 quitting reasons with a small number of mentions online.
A poor work-life balance (9.1%), low pay (8.8%), and feeling unfulfilled (5.9%) are all typical reasons associated with a reaction to the pandemic and our social media data reflects the consensus.
Away from those typical reasons to leave a job, 3.75% of social media posts showed that people left to pursue their side hustles (the 9th highest reason), while 1.6% (the 15th highest reason), left due to making enough money from cryptocurrencies or NFTs. With May 2022’s $1 trillion crash in the space, these former employees may be regretting their decision now.
See also: Resignation letter examples
What are the main problems employees have with managers?
With management being the second-most-common reason someone is quitting their job during The Great Resignation, we looked further into the data to see what reasons were stated for someone disliking their boss.
The most common reason stated online was the manager displaying bad behaviour (25.29%), followed by managers disrupting their work-life balance or not respecting work hours (10.92%). The table below shows the ten most common reasons someone stated their dislike for their manager:
|Reason||Share of social media posts related to bad management (%)|
|Bad behavior toward employees||25.29%|
|Work-life balance disrupted||10.92%|
|Medical problems not respected||6.32%|
|Divisive political issues||4.02%|
|No employee appreciation||3.45%|
Most commonly mentioned forms of workplace discrimination
With discrimination being one of the top ten reasons that employees are quitting during The Great Resignation, we also reviewed the exact issues that were raised by these people.
Out of all the social media posts that mentioned discrimination of any kind, the following types of discriminatory behaviour were mentioned the most:
- Racism occurs in 31.25% of posts
- Sexism in 19.8% of posts
- Ableism in 9.38% of posts
- LGBTQIA+ in 3.13% of posts
In total, 2,698 posts that contained information on people quitting their jobs during March 1st 2021 – May 1st 2022, were analyzed. 60.1% came from Twitter (1,641), with the remaining 39.1% from Reddit (1,057).
Reddit posts and comments were scraped from a range of Subreddits (full list below) using the Reddit API. We collected posts/comments that were posted between March 1st 2021 – May 1st 2022 to ensure our data related to the pandemic and ‘The Great Resignation’.
We then filtered this dataset for comments and posts that contained the following phrases “quit my job”, “two weeks notice” or “resigned”. This subset of data was then manually reviewed post-by-post to determine the reasons behind the individual leaving their job. Posts that stated no reason were discounted.
Tweets were also manually reviewed with the same methodology and date range, however, only tweets containing the phrases “I quit my job because”, “I quit because”, and “my two weeks” were analyzed.
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