What Career Fields Are People Leaving During the Great Resignation?

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According the the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. South (i.e. Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia) holds the most consistently-high resignation rates during the Great Resignation.

Why would this be the case? Former employees in the South reported higher levels of burnout, health concerns, and a lack of empathy-driven communication.

In October 2021, a miniature strike wave dubbed as “Striketober” affected over 100,000 union workers, who felt trapped in a system of unfair renumeration and the overall lack of support.

This wave is similar to previous union strikes, and has garnered a significant amount of media attention due to support from family members and friends who first-handedly understood the stressful mental toll union workers have endured.

What career fields, then, are people leaving during the Great Resignation? Read on to find out the top 5 industries in the United States that have seen a increase in voluntary quits.


Oscillating lockdown mandates have forced school boards to adapt to a chaotic in-person to hybrid to fully remote learning system. Many classroom activities require hands-on learning, such as building and conducting science experiments.

Also, student-to-student socialization is crucial to a child’s development, especially in the early grade stages. Teachers have been scrambling to cram together curriculum plans with tight schedules.


From the start of the pandemic until now, approximately 1 in every 5 healthcare workers has quit their jobs. Nurses face historic shortages and overtime demands.

Physicians, psychiatrists, and laboratory technicians faced burnout and compassion fatigue from dealing with high-stress patients and situations. Where does treatment look towards next? Telemedicine may be the answer.


Perhaps the most notable executive big tech resignations of the year were from previous Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos. Future-minded and looking for the “next great thing,” people employed within the technology sector have an open world of opportunities and unlimited options to upskill themselves—be it Photoshop, Javascript coding, or C++.

There’s always a new (possibly more trendy) coding language or software to jump ship, and coding is perfect for any self-taught learner.

Retail and Food Service

Restaurant policies in light of pandemic guidelines have resulted in mass closures and downsizing. Many consumers choose to purchase online and have their items delivered straight to their home rather than browsing through a store.

Mystery shoppers and delivery drivers on apps such as Cornershop and Skip the Dishes have luckily seen a predictable increase in demand. Ghost kitchens (i.e. a delivery-only or virtual kitchen) operate en masse without the hassle of an unused dining space.


With stalls, delays, and outright cancellations in overseas flights, as well as new vaccine passport guidelines—tourism has taken a hard toll on its employees.

Pilots and airline hospitality workers were subject to lay-offs and less hours from the nature of their work, with high-risk contact enforcements to consider. Eager travelers now find themselves having to adjust to life in one area. However, as the pandemic continues to rapidly change, the tourism industry could gain traction again soon.

What’s Next for Workers Who’ve Resigned?

The pandemic has proved to be a catalyst for new work structures and systems. New jobs are emerging, such as telemedicine and virtual care that can match a patient to any healthcare provider in the world.

All that’s needed is a functional internet connection and the willingness to resolve technical issues. The slower pace of everyday life has opened doors for everyone to improve, learn new skills, and prosper.

The Great Resignation may turn into “The Great Reshuffle” in due time!



Akkermans, J., Richardson, J., & Kraimer, M. L. (2020). The Covid-19 crisis as a career shock: Implications for careers and vocational behavior. Journal of vocational behavior, 119, 103434. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2020.103434.

Bryant, Natasha & Stone, Robyn & Falzarano, Francesca & Cimarolli, Verena. (2021). Job Resignation in Nursing Homes During COVID-19: The Role of Employer Communication and Worker Preparedness. Innovation in Aging. 5. 248-249. https://doi.org/10.1093/geroni/igab046.956.

De-la-Calle-Durán, M. C., & Rodríguez-Sánchez, J. L. (2021). Employee Engagement and Wellbeing in Times of COVID-19: A Proposal of the 5Cs Model. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(10), 5470. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105470.

Nagy, Noémi & Froidevaux, Ariane & Hirschi, Andreas. (2018). Lifespan Perspectives on Careers and Career Development. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-812756-8.00010-4.

Yong, Ed (November 16, 2021). “Why Health-Care Workers Are Quitting in Droves”. The Atlantic. Retrieved January 4, 2022.

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