- Nearly half of workers say they’re afraid to leave their job due to fears of a potential recession (49%)
- 54% of American workers think their current pay is not adequate to cover the rising costs of inflation
- More than a quarter of employed Americans are considering leaving their job in the next six months (27%)
Nearly two-thirds of Americans are fearful of a recession (65%), which could hamper some employees’ plans to leave their jobs or seek employment elsewhere. According to a recent study conducted by Qualtrics on behalf of Credit Karma, nearly half of American workers say they’re afraid to leave their job due to fears of a potential recession with another 17% concerned they’ll lose their job or regular scheduled shift(s) altogether. This could lead to a slow down in what’s been coined the Great Resignation, a prolonged period during which millions of Americans switched jobs or left the workforce in search of better work-life balance, more purposeful work or, in some cases, a bigger paycheck.
Many workers lack confidence in the job market as we near a potential recession.
According to the study, 39% of people don’t feel like the job market is stable right now. This was especially true among lower wage earners and part-time workers. However, higher earners, were more likely to feel a sense of security. In fact, 41% of respondents with household incomes (HHI) above $100k say they think the job market is stable right now, compared to 30% of those with HHI below $50k. Similarly, full time employees were more likely to have confidence in the market (42%) than part-time and self-employed workers (34%).
To cope with fears of a recession and an uncertain jobs market, young people between the ages of 18 and 34 are working side gigs (27%), updating their resumes (20%), and asking for a raise (12%).
Wind it back, how did the Great Resignation pan out for Americans?
One-in-four working Americans voluntarily changed jobs in the last 12 months (24%) with younger generations being more likely to report having recently changed jobs. According to the study, 41% of Gen Z respondents said they voluntarily left their job in the last year, compared to 29% of millennials, 17% of Gen X and just 10% of Boomers+. However, those who quit their jobs have been met with mixed emotions with 41% saying they regret doing so. Regrets and recession fears aside, more than a quarter of employed Americans are still considering leaving their job in the next six months (27%) with another two-thirds saying they are currently looking for a new job.
What’s driving people to leave?
There are a number of factors contributing to employees’ decisions to move about the workforce. However, for most employees it comes down to three things: compensation, job satisfaction and job security. According to the study, half of American workers received a pay raise in the last 12 months, yet 54% of workers still don’t feel like their current pay is adequate enough to cover the rising costs of living. What’s more, many say their current salary is holding them back from reaching their financial goals (49%). Of those who say their salary is holding them back, with many saying they’re being held back from paying off debt (37%) and saving for retirement (33%), with another 30% saying it’s keeping them from building an emergency fund or paying for necessities (25%).
Beyond compensation, many employees are dissatisfied with their current jobs. According to the study, nearly one-in-five employed respondents say they’re not content with their current job (18%).
These factors, employees’ decisions to change jobs combined with inflation and a potential recession, could impact workers’ ability to retire in the near and long term. According to the study, more than half of respondents plan to retire when they’re 65 or older (51%). However, 42% say they plan to put off retirement due to inflation and/or a recession. This was most common among respondents above the age of 55, 46% of which say they’re planning to postpone their retirement.
“We’ve seen a number of workforce trends since the start of the pandemic. What started as droves of employees changing jobs or leaving the workforce has evolved into what many are calling “quiet quitting”, which signals to me that consumers are still trying to figure out what kind of relationship they wish to have with their work,” said Colleen McCreary, consumer financial advocate and chief people officer at Credit Karma. “It’s healthy and quite normal for people to assess their lifestyle and make changes based on their shifting priorities. However, for those looking to make a major change in employment, make sure you’re financially prepared to do so, factoring in current market conditions, like inflation and a potential recession, into your plans as well.”
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Qualtrics on behalf of Credit Karma from August 15-16, 2022 among 1,048 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.