20 Apr 2022

Nearly 40% of Pandemic-Era Job Quitters in the U.K. Say They Were Better Off in Their Old Job

UKG Stand: H58
Nearly 40% of Pandemic-Era Job Quitters in the U.K. Say They Were Better Off in Their Old Job
Nearly 40% of Pandemic-Era Job Quitters in the U.K. Say They Were Better Off in Their Old Job
Four out of 10 people (43%) who quit their jobs during the pandemic now admit they were actually better off at their old job.

“Leaders and organisations don’t own people’s careers. If someone has an amazing opportunity for themselves and their family, great leaders will embrace the move and let strong performers know the door is open if they want to return. Great leaders should also never be blindsided by someone quitting,” said Aron Ain, chairman and CEO at UKG. “Yet, those open conversations about career desires and new opportunities only happen if the manager and employee share trust — which is the magic glue that holds all relationships together. Jobs reports show that 47 million people quit in the U.S. alone last year, and our survey indicates that nearly half of those people feel they ended up worse off in their new job. With trusting relationships where people can comfortably communicate their true desires about life and work with their manager, they may not leave their job in the first place.”

The full report, “Resign, Resigned, or Re-Sign? Pandemic-era job quitters and their managers wish they had a do-over,” compares survey responses of 1,950 employees who voluntarily left their jobs since March 2020 with 1,850 people managers who had people on their teams quit across France, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, the U.S., and the U.K.

Employees Are Quitting in Haste, Many Feel Their Old Job Was Better Than the One They Left For.
With more job openings available than people to fill them, employees have more choices than ever before in this hyper-competitive job market. One in 5 people who quit say they were not actively looking for a new job, and 41% said they contemplated quitting for less than a month before they gave their notice. Unsurprisingly, that same 41% of employees admit they quit their jobs too quickly.

Of people not fully satisfied in their new role, 62% admit, “The job I quit was better than my job now.” When all job leavers were asked what they missed most about their former job, the top answer was their peers/co-workers (38%), followed by familiarity and comfort in the role (31%), the customers they served (22%), compensation/pay (19%), and work-life balance (16%).  

Lack of Trust or Lack of Listening? Managers and Employees Disagree on Why People Leave
While pay/compensation tops the list of why people have changed jobs in the last two years, fewer than half of all pandemic-era job changers actually received a pay rise at their new position — about a 15% bump, on average. In fact, 1 in 5 people took a pay cut to move on to a new role.

Outside of pay, there’s a significant disconnect between managers and employees about other reasons people resign. When asked why they believed their people quit, managers only correctly named two of the next top five reasons for quitting: poor work-life balance/burnout and lack of career development opportunities.

Employees say not feeling valued or like they belonged, frustration with executive leadership, and poor company culture were the other top reasons. That said, a full 25% of employees admit never discussing frustrations with their managers before they gave their notice.

Additionally, 3 out of 4 managers say their organisation supported them in their efforts to retain good people, yet only 48% of employees felt like their old boss made an effort to keep them. People managers also overestimate the relationship they have with their teams, as 91% believe they create an environment where employees are comfortable communicating frustrations — yet only 64% of employees agree.

Boomeranging Intensifies, as Millions Return to Good Managers — If Those Managers Don’t Quit First.
Nearly 1 in 5 people who quit during the pandemic have already boomeranged back to the job they left. For those who have not yet gone back to their old job, a whopping 41% would consider it if it were an option. Similarly, 60% of managers believe employees made the wrong decision in leaving their roles, and 72% feel these departed employees would consider returning within the year.

It’s clear that employees who return to their old jobs had a strong and supportive manager. Compared with all job quitters, boomerang employees say their manager fostered an environment where communicating frustrations was possible (77% vs. 64%), made an effort to keep them (77% vs. 50%), and conducted at least one stay interview when they were previously employed there (77% vs. 55%). Boomerang employees were also more likely (66%) to discuss looking for a job elsewhere when they first began contemplating quitting.

Yet, good managers are also likely on the quitting block, too, as 2 in 5 people managers are contemplating quitting themselves — and that number skyrockets to more than half (53%) of leaders in the U.S. and the U.K.

“Nearly half of all people who recently quit would say their resignation was anything but great,” said Dr. Chris Mullen, executive director at The Workforce Institute at UKG. “While it’s promising to see organisations open to welcoming back millions and millions of boomerang employees2 — even more than when we first studied it back in 2015 — leaders would rather keep their good people. Our data shows that it might only take one bad day or one bad experience for employees to start looking elsewhere in today’s job market. We must continue to build trust between managers and employees by conducting impactful one-on-one and career discussions, and holding stay interviews to ask why happy employees remain before it’s too late.”

Download the full report here:  https://www.ukg.com/en-GB/resources/article/resign-resigned-or-re-sign

View all News

Part of

M&E Week


Manufacturing Expo is part of Manufacturing and Engineering Week, a celebration of the best in UK manufacturing and engineering excellence and innovation.

A series of digital and live events taking place from 6-9 June 2023 showcasing end-to-end manufacturing and engineering solutions, and encouraging conversation, business, knowledge sharing and action.

Read more


Premier Partner


Audit, Tax & Advisory Sponsor

mha logo

Knowledge Partner

Made Smarter

Keynote Theatre Sponsor


Supported by

Media Partners

Co-located Shows

Manufacturing And Engineering Week