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Want to quit your job? It’s an epidemic in the pandemic

·4-min read
A person is highlighting a day on their calendar that they are going to quit their job.
The pandemic has led people to re-evaluate their working lives. (Source: Getty)

It’s almost an epidemic in the pandemic, that feeling of ‘meh’.

Nearly two years into the new coronavirus world, much has been written about just how under-whelmed, unenthusiastic and unsatisfied we are with our lives.

In droves we are quitting marriages (my guess is the stats when they come out will make for shocking reading), cities and states (we’ve all seen the frenzied flow-through to property prices in the regions especially).

But we are also jumping jobs.

Indeed, exclusive research for Yahoo Finance by Finder.com.au shows an enormous 42 per cent of Australians are still planning on changing employers within the next six months.

In fact, not just employers. Fourteen per cent of people want to move into a different field of work entirely.

Another 11 per cent are driven by a more flexible lifestyle and are seeking the ‘workplace’ – very possibly a remote one – that will give them that.

And the search for a better working environment extends beyond just conditions; nearly one-in-10 (9 per cent) of us are looking to quit because we don’t enjoy our role and one-in-20 (5 per cent) said it’s because we don’t like our boss.

But, predictably, wanting a larger salary is the number one reason for hunting down a career change – with money motivating one-in-four planned moves (26 per cent).

Chart depicting people's willingness to change jobs.
(Source: Finder survey of 647 Australians workers, November 2021)

Respondents could select multiple “yes” answers.

The psychology behind the stampede to the exit

Shanyn Payne, chief people officer at Finder, said the job-hopping trend is a relatively normal response to coming out of the pandemic.

“There has been a build-up of people wanting to switch jobs over the past couple of years, but didn’t because of COVID-19,” she said.

“The Eastern states are now out of lockdown and Australia’s economy is beginning to recover, which translates to greater job security.”

But the en masse push is passion-related too. We now want our jobs to be personally, as well as financially, rewarding… and to suit our way of life.

“The pandemic has shed light on what people want out of work, whether that’s flexible working arrangements or simply something they’re more passionate about,” Payne said.

Who is most likely to demand a job that fits in with their bigger picture goals?

Finder’s research shows Millennials (54 per cent) and Gen Z (52 per cent) will represent the largest cohorts of future job jumpers, compared with just 29 per cent of Gen X-ers and a mere 8 per cent of Baby Boomers.

That the Boomers aren’t ‘bouncing’ around as much implies they are more satisfied with their lot in life.

But it’s also an attitude and, perhaps, an apathy thing.

“Young people are typically less afraid to jump between jobs. They are less established in their careers and still figuring out what they want to do,” Payne says.

So what drives the different generations?

The research found 35 per cent of Gen Z and 34 per cent of Millennial workers are job-hunting because they want a higher salary. This is a fair bit higher than the 26 per cent average across the population.

What about men versus women?

Nearly half (47 per cent) of male workers are preparing for a job switch, as opposed to 35 per cent of female ones.

It’s also interesting in the context of how Australians compare with work patterns of the rest of the world.

Here, as a nation we are already more likely to jump from gig to gig.

Greeks show the most job loyalty, with 56 per cent of them staying for longer than 10 years.

Then come Italians (54 per cent), the Portuguese (50 per cent), Japanese (48 per cent) and Slovenians (47 per cent).

And way down towards the bottom of the loyalty list come Australians, at just 26 per cent.

Only New Zealanders (26 per cent), Chileans (24 per cent) and Columbians (20 per cent) are less likely to stick around for 10 years.

With so many Aussies opting to quit, it will be interesting to see where we rank in the next job tenure survey.

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