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We’re Talking About… 40+ Workers and the Great Resignation

By May 4, 2022No Comments

When conversation heats up in the work-world, we’re listening to learn and bring you the topics worth talking about. Here’s one you might want to think about!

The latest group of folks to jump on the Great Resignation bandwagon isn’t who you imagine it is – it’s middle-aged workers with lots of tenure and the financial means to pursue the things in life that truly matter to them!

The pandemic impacted the way all of us work. As employers are starting to call workers back into the office, many are reevaluating their values, passions, and what it means for them to have a meaningful life! But the emotional impact of this can hit differently for those in their 40s and 50s than those earlier in their career.

Whereas the earlier part of the pandemic saw young people leaving traditional employment in droves, more tenured workers tended to remain employed and “loyal” throughout the changes. There’s been a shift. Throughout 2021, workers 40 years of age through 60, saw higher rates of resignation than their younger peers. From Q1 of 2021 to Q1 of 2022, there was only a 17% change in rates of resignation in workers aged 25-30; for those 45 to 50 years of age, the rate of change was 37%. It’s clear that a shift is happening. But what is it?

Vox interviewed Columbia Business School professor Adam Galinsky, who refers to this iteration of the Great Resignation “the “great midlife crisis.”

“At the midpoint of life, we become aware of our own mortality, and it allows us to reflect on what really matters to us,” Galinsky says. The pandemic has amplified that effect. “A global pandemic obviously makes people reflect on their own mortality in terms of being afraid of dying themselves or having a loved one or family and colleagues pass away.”

Vox also notes that this group of workers also has the financial means to quit and prioritize what they want out of their lives and work. They write:

Higher-paid workers are increasingly quitting their jobs, as the Great Resignation — also known as the Great Reshuffle — enters its second year. Earlier in the pandemic, the trend was led by younger, less-tenured workers in low-paying industries like retail, food service, and health care. Now, the main growth in quit rates is coming from older, more tenured workers in higher-paid industries like finance, tech, and other knowledge worker fields, according to data from two separate human resources and analytics companies. These workers say they are searching for less tangible benefits like meaning and flexibility.

We asked Sandy Chief Brand Officer and co-founder Rae Hames to chime in her thoughts and perspective on the shift. “Whether we’re talking jeans or jobs, I love any form of “Is 50 the new 40?” content. There’s no age limits on taking risks!” Rae shares. “Jokes aside, it makes sense that people who are established in their career have more flexibility when it comes to making the leap to freelance – they’re seasoned experts in their field, bring in-depth industry knowledge, and likely have long-term relationships with other talent, vendors, and even clients.”

You can check out the full peace on Vox and read more here