We have moved past panic. We are now fully immersed in understanding the problem and fixing it.

Adrienne Selko

Last year, more than 47 million Americans walked away from their jobs. While manufacturing did not have the quit rates of other industries, the message was still heard, loud and clear. Employees are so unhappy with the state of their employment that they are willing to vote with their feet. The workplace equation of power shifted, and after decades of employer domination, employees are gaining strength.

The Great Resignation 

Throughout 2021, a record 47.4 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs, a 30% increase from 2020. The figure includes people who retired, quit to find new jobs or voluntarily left their jobs after finding new opportunities. Involuntary separations, such as layoffs and firings, hit an all-time low in December 2021, as employers struggled to keep the employees they had.

  • Job openings: December 2020: 7 million
  • Job openings: December 2021: 11 million, a 62% increase
  • Firings and layoffs throughout 2019: 22 million (closely matching an 8-year average)
  • Firings and layoffs throughout 2020: 41 million (badly distorted by COVID-19 shutdowns in March)
  • Firings and layoffs throughout 2021: 17 million (21% lower than the 2011-2019 average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

Top 10 Questions to Ask on Employee Sentiment Surveys 

  • How would you describe the company culture?
  • Do you think your work is meaningful and valued?
  • Do you feel like all of your talents are being used in your position?
  • Do you get the learning and development opportunities that you want?
  • Would you apply for your job with us again if you had to do it all over?
  • Do you get the support and tools you need to do your job well?
  • Does your manager ask for your feedback and value it when it’s offered?
  • Do you feel like our expectations of you are clear?
  • How well do you think our company communicates news and important information?
  • Does your job cause you excessive stress?