Great Resignation: Which Types of Technologists are Quitting?

There have been numerous headlines about the “Great Resignation,” with millions of people across the country reportedly quitting their current jobs to pursue better offers. But who’s leading this particular charge out the door? And how will it impact the tech industry?

A handful of recent surveys makes it clear that younger workers are quitting far more often than their older counterparts. A survey conducted over the summer by Harris Poll on behalf of Personal Capital found that 78 percent of Millennials were interested in switching jobs, along with 91 percent of Gen Zers, well ahead of the 66 percent of Americans overall. Some 62 percent also said they’d take a pay cut in order to work remotely. 

Meanwhile, an analysis by the Harvard Business Review found that resignation rates were highest among employees between the ages of 30 and 45. These “older Millennials” have racked up significant experience and skills in their careers, and they evidently feel energetic enough to abandon even a relatively comfortable employment situation in favor of an interesting opportunity. 

Last month, a study of workforce data by Visier Benchmarks suggested that tech was leading the way when it came to resignations. “While resignations actually decreased slightly in industries such as manufacturing and finance, 3.6 percent more health care employees quit their jobs than in the previous year, and in tech, resignations increased by 4.5 percent,” read the analysis by study leader Ian Cook.

All this data suggests that a significant percentage of technologists in mid-career are probably eyeing the company exit doors. And it’s not just the money potentially driving them to a new employer: According to the 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report36 percent of technologists said they were burned out in the second quarter of 2021, up from 32 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020. Workload, excessive hours, a lack of recognition for their work, and a lack of challenges (i.e., boredom) were all driving factors. 

In this environment, technologists with a mix of skills and experience have some leverage to negotiate for the things they want, either at their current company or a new one. For managers, you should listen carefully to what your team wants and needs—otherwise they might walk out the door. No matter what your position, soft skills are key