Riding the heels of the pandemic, “The Great Resignation” has led to a massive shakeup in the job market. As the BLS recently reported, August saw a record 4.3 million job quits alone (which does not include retirements). Many are exiting the service sector en masse, and particularly the restaurant industry, leaving more job openings in the economy than there are people to fill them. Employers are hard-pressed to reach and attract the talent they need.

CivicScience looked at what’s behind the numbers and dug into the latest job searching trends.

Job Satisfaction Hits a Historic Low

Job satisfaction has reached the lowest point on record since CivicScience began tracking it in 2015. The number of U.S. adults who are happy in their current jobs fell from 84% this time last year to 68% today. A recent study shows the decline is largely being driven by workers under the age of 35, who want higher paid, more flexible jobs with remote work options. 

It’s also being driven by personal financial growth. With stimulus money and increased saving, including saving on commuting costs, CivicScience tracking shows a portion (25%) of Americans have found themselves in a better financial position than before the pandemic. Having a bit of extra financial cushioning may be emboldening many dissatisfied workers to cut ties. 

In fact, a survey of more than 1,300 U.S. adults reveals that, among people who quit their jobs in 2021 (excluding retirees), 40% are in a better overall financial position than before the pandemic. In comparison, they are also better off than those who didn’t quit their jobs or didn’t work at all this year (to note, they are also slightly more likely to be worse off as well). Furthermore, adults between the ages of 18 and 34 are the most likely to have benefited financially during the pandemic.

Job Searching Trends in 2021

Surveying more than 1,900 U.S. adults revealed that 23% are searching for a new job right now (results below exclude people not in the labor market). Job searching is highest among workers currently or recently employed in the government and military (33%); the service industry (32%); and as craftsmen, laborers, and farm workers (27%).

Job searching is also highest among the youngest workers. More than half of 18- to 24-year-olds are searching for a new job right now, many of whom may have quit their jobs this year and are now searching for better positions. This leaves everyone wondering about the future of the service industry, which relies much more upon young, college-aged workers than other industries, as the data back up.

Time for a Change?

One-quarter of respondents are looking to change their careers, which has stayed relatively constant since 2020. Workers in two of the hardest-hit frontlines – the service industry and healthcare – are the most likely to be looking to switch up careers.

Job-Searching Sites

When it comes to finding a new job, many turn to job posts on websites such as Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor. A survey of leading top job sites shows that Indeed continues to take the number one spot for the second year running, followed by LinkedIn, both of which far outrank Glassdoor, Monster, Google for Jobs, Career Builder, Simply Hired, and Jobs on Facebook.

High rates of job dissatisfaction coincide with people feeling less than optimistic about the economy in general, as the CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index saw one of its lowest points on record last week. Amidst weak confidence in the job market and other economic indicators, workers are taking the time to reconsider what’s most important to them when it comes to a job. We’ll be watching how these trends shape up in the months ahead.