Workers are quitting their jobs at record rates. Over 4.4 million people voluntarily left their jobs in September, bringing the five-month total to 20.2 million – or nearly 14% of the U.S. nonfarm labor force. The big question on everyone’s minds is why.

While COVID-19 may have exacerbated this trend with some employees possibly fearful of getting infected on the job, it began long before the pandemic began – and will likely continue long after it ends, writes Ian Williamson, a scholar of human resource management at the University of California, Irvine. Employers may have to just get used to it, and Williamson has suggestions as to how.

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Senior Editor, Economy + Business

Employers are having a harder time recruiting new workers. AP Photo/Marta Lavandier

The ‘great resignation’ is a trend that began before the pandemic – and bosses need to get used to it

Ian O. Williamson, University of California, Irvine

A record share of workers quit their jobs in September. A human resources scholar explains how this is a trend that predates the pandemic.

Environment + Energy

  • COP26: experts react to the UN climate summit and Glasgow Pact

    Christina E. Hoicka, University of Victoria; Daniel Sperling, University of California, Davis; Ian Lowe, Griffith University; Kate Dooley, The University of Melbourne; Kyla Tienhaara, Queen's University, Ontario; Mariola Acosta Francés, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA); Mark Maslin, UCL; Piers Forster, University of Leeds; Ran Boydell, Heriot-Watt University; Simon Lewis, UCL

    Has the summit delivered on its goals?

  • Organized crime is a top driver of global deforestation – along with beef, soy, palm oil and wood products

    Jennifer Devine, Texas State University

    More than 100 world leaders have pledged to end the destruction of forests by 2030 as a way to slow climate change. That will require changing how the world produces four widely used commodities.

Politics + Society


Arts + Culture

  • The ancient history of adding insult to injury

    Andrew M. McClellan, San Diego State University

    Epic poetry tends to be seen as highbrow, while action films are regarded as puerile and brutish. But the two share an affinity for dressing up brutal deaths with rhetorical flair.


Ethics + Religion

Science + Technology

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