Icon Close Icon Close check-mark black-lock

Report cover


NEWS RELEASE: “The Great Resignation” - Pandemic fuels career shifting motives, study shows 66% of American workers are on the move

New Personal Capital-Harris Poll survey also finds younger workers value flexibility over pay, as 62% say they would take a paycut to permanently work from home.

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif. August 10, 2021 - With the prospect of a post-pandemic world on the horizon, or what some are referring to as the “YOLO Economy,” it’s clear that employees have the upper hand over their employers these days and are seeking greater flexibility and balance. While many workers report struggling with burn out and return-to-office mandates, a new survey out today from digital wealth manager, Personal Capital, in partnership with The Harris Poll, shows a staggering two-thirds of Americans surveyed (66%) are interested in switching jobs right now, with young generations expressing such sentiment in particular – 91% of Gen Z-ers and 78% of Millennials, compared to 47% of Gen X-ers and 45% of Boomers. More than half of surveyed U.S. employees (57%) say that “now would be a great time to make a career move,” with two-thirds of Millennials (66%) agreeing with such a statement.

One of the main drivers for this new pandemic-era phenomenon is due to many workers seeking greater flexibility in where they work, as a majority (6 out of 10 Americans surveyed) would be willing to take a pay cut in return for the ability to work remotely without any restrictions. It’s clear there is a strong consensus among workers that “employers are not great at hearing employees’ post-Covid needs and expectations,” as seven in 10 Americans surveyed (69%) express such sentiment, including 75% of Millennials. Moreover, there is also a widespread agreement that “working from home helps ease the burnout worsened by the pandemic” (64%), and so six in 10 Americans (63%), especially Gen Z-ers (85%) and Millennials (74%), would even agree to a trade-off to work from home whenever they want. Three in 10 Americans (30%) would be willing to work more hours per week if they could work from home whenever they wanted.

As companies decide on permanent work requirements post pandemic, many are boldly embracing virtual-first business models. Personal Capital now joins the growing list of companies who have made the decision to make remote work the primary experience for all 547 employees.

“While we watched Wall Street return to their offices this past month, we know virtual workplaces are here to stay. Yesterday, Personal Capital internally announced we will not return to our offices. We are listening to our employees, who want more balance and flexibility. Our growth since March of 2020 proves our digital-first hybrid model was built for virtual delivery. We want everyone, both clients and employees, to know we are listening and responding to your wants and needs,” said Jay Shah, President of Personal Capital.

The pandemic has forced many to reevaluate their lives and priorities from their pre-COVID-19 days, so it comes at no surprise that half of survey respondents say that work isn’t as important to them as it was before the pandemic (50%), particularly Gen Z-ers (60%) and Millennials (57%) sharing such sentiment.

With work-life balance being top of mind, three-quarters of all respondents would prefer a four-day work week (with the same hours) than a traditional five-day week (75%), including 90% of government workers. Interestingly, Gen Z-ers are the least adamant generation when it comes to such concept, as only 58% agree, compared to 77% of Millennials, 79% of Gen-Xers, and 78% of Boomers.

While 70% of Americans say they “don’t have the luxury of ‘YOLO quitting’ their job,” more than half (55%) know someone who actually did so – especially Millennials, with 65% reporting they know someone who “YOLO quit” their job. And of those who are deciding to quit, 52% report needing “at least $50,000 in their bank account” in order to comfortably do so. It’s no surprise that Americans are rather hesitant making rash decisions when it comes to job quitting, as nearly six in 10 (59%) could only go without a regular paycheck for 3 months or less.

Additional survey findings:

  • Workers in the Midwestern United States are more likely to say they are currently working from an office (57%) compared to those in the West (36%), Northeast (38%), and South (42%).
  • Going even a step further, six in 10 Americans (62%) would take a pay cut to work from home as much as they wanted, especially parents (72%), Hispanic Americans (76%), and Black Americans (75%).
  • Men are more likely than women to say they would take a pay cut to work from home whenever they wanted (68% men, 55% women).
  • During the last six months, 22% of respondents were approached by someone (whether a recruiter or a former co-worker) with a potential work opportunity, 17% interviewed for a job – including nearly a third of Gen Z-ers (32%) and 21% Millennials – 15% asked their network about job opportunities – including 22% Millennials – and 14% spoke with a recruiter about a potential job opportunity.
  • Government or non-profit employees are the least interested in switching jobs out of all industries, as only 46% are interested in finding a new opportunity, compared to 66% total.

For more information on the survey, an overview of the results can be found here.


This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Personal Capital from July 29 – August 2, 2021, among 933 U.S. employed respondents. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact [email protected]

About Personal Capital, an Empower Company

Personal Capital is a remote-delivery, industry-leading digital wealth management company that helps people transform their financial lives through technology and advisory services. The company’s state-of-the-art tools and technology provide consumers with a holistic financial picture and are used by over 3 million people to track $1.2 trillion in account assets (as of 6/30/21). Its wealth management advisors provide expert guidance, and customized strategies, based on a personal understanding of an investor’s financial picture and goals. For more information, please visit www.personalcapital.com or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Advisory services are offered for a fee by Personal Capital Advisors Corporation (“PCAC”), a registered investment adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Investing involves risk. Past performance is not indicative of future returns. You may lose money. PCAC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Personal Capital Corporation (“PCC”), an Empower company. PCC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Empower Holdings, LLC. © 2021 Personal Capital Corporation. All rights reserved.

Contact Information

Jacqueline Quasney, Director of PR

[email protected]

Personal Capital Advisors Corporation ("PCAC") compensates ("Company") for new leads. ("Company") is not an investment client of PCAC.

["Author"] has entered into an agreement with Personal Capital Corporation ("Personal Capital"), through which Author will be paid up to $200 for each person who uses webpage to register with Personal Capital and links at least $100,000 in investable assets to Personal Capital's Free Financial Dashboard.  The “Author”, due to such compensation, has an incentive to recommend Personal Capital, resulting in a material conflict of interest. Author is not affiliated with Personal Capital and Author's services consist solely of referrals of prospective clients. As a result of this arrangement Author may financially benefit from referring qualified leads to Personal Capital. No fees or other amounts will be charged to investors by Author or Personal Capital as a result of the arrangement. Investors that are referred by Author to Personal Capital and subscribe for investment advisory services provided by Personal Capital’s subsidiary, Personal Capital Advisors Corporation (“PCAC”), will not pay increased management fees or other similar compensation to Author, Personal Capital or PCAC as a result of the arrangement. This  agreement with Author does not imply a sponsorship, endorsement, approval, investigation, verification, or monitoring by PCAC of the contents of the Author's website. Personal Capital is not responsible for the content of any website owned by a third party that may be linked to Personal Capital's website regardless of whether the link is provided by PCAC or a third party. Personal Capital does not prepare or maintain, has not and will not review or update, and does not guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness, suitability, reliability, or usefulness of any information contained on a linked third-party website.

Advisory services are offered for a fee by PCAC, a wholly owned subsidiary of PCC, an Empower company. PCAC is a registered investment adviser with the Securities Exchange Commission ("SEC"). SEC registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Past performance is not a guarantee of future return. Investing involves risk. Personal Capital and the Personal Capital logo are trademarks of PCC. All other trademarks, trade names, or service marks used or mentioned belong to their respective owners.