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Oct 3, 2022

Let’s get a few things straight about the so-called ‘Great Resignation’.

Firstly it’s not ‘great’ at all. What’s so great hearing about record numbers of Americans quitting their jobs each and every month?

And – of this I am absolutely sure – reading yet another article about it no doubt gives people a feeling of wary ‘resignation’ too.

So, what can be added to this over-written-about HR topic that actually provides some benefit?

Maybe it’s understanding ‘why’ people are resigning in the first place.

Get a handle on this and HRDs at least stand a chance of being able to do something about it.

That’s where new research from StandOutCV comes.

It analyzed the only source of information that seems to matter nowadays – people’s social media accounts – to find out what people were really saying was the reason they quit their jobs.

It analyzed thousands of tweets, Reddit posts and social media comments where users had stated they had recently quit their jobs (using phrases such as  “quit my job”, “two weeks notice” or “resigned”).

This dataset was then filtered down to 2,698 posts where someone revealed the specific reasons that caused them to hand in their resignation.

The results of their analysis might surprise you.

It found:

  • The most common reason for quitting was suffering from burnout and mental health problems (15.75%)
  • Having a bad manager was found to be the second most common reason for someone to quit their job, with bad behavior (25.29%) and not respecting a work-life balance (10.92%) the most frequently mentioned issues in posts relating to bad bosses.
  • One in ten (10.57%) of social media posts about quitting jobs were due to employes disagreeing with their workplace’s Covid-19 vaccination/mask enforcement. This was the third most frequent reason mentioned for leaving a job.
  • Discrimination was found to be the 8th most-common reason people quit (4.04%), with 31.25% of those posts relating to racism in the workplace.
  • The 9th most frequently mentioned reason (by 3.75%) was due to having a successful side hustle they could replace their job with.

The full top 30 list can be seen below:

RankReason for QuittingShare of Social Media Posts (%)
1Burnout or mental health issues15.75%
3COVID mandates10.57%
4No work-life balance9.10%
5Low pay/salary8.80%
6Feeling unfulfilled5.90%
7Got a new job5.35%
9Side hustle3.75%
10Working conditions2.99%
12Physical health issues2.02%
13Family commitments1.98%
16COVID worry1.43%
17Working while sick1.18%
18Restricted vacation1.10%
19No remote working options0.97%
20Shift scheduling0.80%
21Poor benefits0.76%
23To seek education0.42%
25Clothing/uniform issues0.25%
27Moving area0.21%
28Company values0.13%
29Lack of promotion0.13%
30Menopause concerns0.13%

Lousy managers

While having poor managers was the second-biggest reason people quit their jobs, social media posts were awash with talking about just how bad managers were.

Not only did a quarter of this dataset reveal bad behavior from the manager toward the employee, but there were also accusations of bullying/abuse (from 8.62%); micromanagement (8.05%); discrimination (6.9%); medical issues not being respected (6.32%) and being denied a promotion (4.02%). Some 4.45% also said that managers showed a lack of employee appreciation.

Where discrimination was mentioned, racism was mentioned in 31.25% of discrimination-related social media posts, followed by sexism (19.8%), ableism (8.38%), and LGBTQIA+-related discrimination in 3.13% of posts.

Says Andrew Fennell, director, StandOutCV: “The Great Resignation is estimated to have caused more than 47 million Americans to voluntarily quit their jobs in 2021, and the end of March 2022 saw 14.1% more voluntary exits than when compared to the same month in 2021. Employees are clearly unhappy, and they’re more than happy to leave their roles to prove it.”

He added: “Mental health problems and poor management have sadly become reflective of the pandemic working era and exactly what we would expect to see in this study about The Great Resignation. But it’s shocking to see the third most frequent reason employees quit is because of disagreements with their workplaces Covid-19 mandates.”

He said: “These tweets and Reddit posts were still being posted online in May 2022, so there’s no sign of this divide going away anytime soon.”


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