With record low unemployment, a strong economy and a little millennial angst thrown in, quitting your job right now might be a smart move for better opportunities, better pay, or just interesting travel.
Quitting Your Job on Purpose
Every 1 in 6 unemployed workers has become unemployed intentionally. This is the highest rate of voluntary unemployment in more than 17 years. The Labor Department reported that 3.4 million people quit their jobs in April 2018 which is twice as many people as were laid off in April. One assumption is that they’ve acquired adequate savings to pursue something else, and once that “something else” is done they are incredibly confident they can find a job when they need to reenter the labor market.
Low unemployment rates and a strong economy affects worker’s confidence levels and promotes risk taking. More people go into business for themselves, not just becoming self-employed freelancers. More people quit in a strong economy to pursue a better-fitting job or higher compensation. In a bad economy people stay put because of a fear of not finding something else, hurting worker productivity by staying in a job they don’t like. And more people take this economic confidence to try to find a job that will make their career more well-rounded. Experience is everything in your future marketability.
Job hopping is often a feature of good economic times, but it also combats what has been stagnant wage growth in the ten years since the 2007-2009 recession. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta reports that workers get their biggest wage increase in a job change earning 30% larger pay increases than those who stay put. Workers are moving from lower paying retail and restaurant jobs to the higher paying construction, manufacturing and health care industries.
There is also an age factor, or maybe a generational factor in these trends. 6.5% of workers under 35 changed jobs in the first quarter of 2017. Only 3.1% of those aged 35-54 changed jobs in the same time period. A 2018 Millennial Survey by Deloitte said 43% of this younger generation expect to leave their job within two years. Deloitte said that millennials experience “employers prioritizing the bottom line above workers, society and the environment, leaving them with little sense of loyalty.”
The combination of a strong economy, anticipating working into their 70’s and the strong millennial belief in life outside of work being more important than work itself has led many millennials to plan a mid-career break. Taking their foot off the pedal in their 30’s and traveling the world is a change and a refresher for people who will probably have 50 year careers. Lyndon Gratton, a London Business School professor and co-author of The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity says, “It’s just too grueling. We have to take breaks. Why wouldn’t you want to take some of the retirement at the end of your life and distribute it to the middle of your life?”