‘The Great Resignation’: Millions are leaving their jobs, but why?

CHARLOTTE — The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 4.3 million Americans left their jobs in August in what has been coined “The Great Resignation.”

Many employees said low pay and lack of respect in the workforce are behind the accelerating trend.

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“Just surviving check-to-check,” said Dao Le, an employee in Charlotte. “It’s unfortunate. It makes me angry and yes, it does make me want to walk off jobs and I have because I refuse to work for less than what I’m worth.”

Le’s attitude is typical of the modern worker.

“I think the pandemic has created some time and space, maybe for people to reflect on what the value and how they are treated,” said Dr. Alyssa McGonagle, an associate professor at UNC Charlotte.

She said workers are not afraid to try new jobs.

Student Madalynn Nicholson is in a new line of work as a nanny.

“I was a full-time server at Mimosa Grill in downtown Charlotte,” Nicholson said. “It’s a great restaurant, lot of great chefs. I just was really unhappy with the hours and really unhappy with unstable pay.”

Nicholson said she has no interest in going back to the restaurant business.

“It’s not comparable,” she said. “Honestly, I’m 10 times happier. I’m a full-time student at UNC Charlotte, so my job really respects that my schoolwork comes first.”

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Help-wanted signs can be seen everywhere.

“It cuts across all professions,” said Dr. Arvind Malhotra, a professor at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. “It is an employee’s market.”

Malhotra said to attract workers, employers are going to have to change and make work something that most people don’t associate with work: Fun.

“They are also looking for growth opportunities and, of course, fun,” Malhotra said. “Whatever employers can do to make it different and fun, provide growth opportunities, people are reconsidering what work means to them.”

Malhotra said the current trend started before the pandemic, but it has since accelerated. He doesn’t believe it’s going to change anytime soon.

The U.S. is beyond an economy that can be fueled by minimum wage, Malhotra said, and employers must do more than provide dead-end jobs if they hope to compete.

(Watch the video below: Local businesses that are hiring struggle to fill jobs)