The Next Great Resignation Could Dwarf the Last, Thanks to AI

With cases of burnout through the roof, many workers believe that AI is the secret to career progression.

As the US workforce continues to deal with escalating workloads for stagnant pay, a new study by PwC found that far more employees are considering quitting their current jobs in the next year, compared to the number of resignations we saw during the great resignation of 2022.

Technological disruptions like generative AI also have a massive hand to play, with the vast majority of casual AI users believing that the tech will help improve their career development and earning potential in the future.

As the desires of employees continue to evolve, we explore whether quitting is likely to be the best option for dissatisfied workers, before explaining what companies can do to hold onto quality talent.

Are We On The Cusp of The Biggest Great Resignation Yet?

After the pandemic turned the job market upside down and gave employees a chance to take stock of their careers, over 50 million US workers quit their jobs in 2022 – making it the biggest employment reshuffle to date.

Skip to the current day, and the record-breaking numbers are due to be topped, according to data from PwC’s 2024 “Hopes and Fears” survey. The survey revealed that out of the 56,000 workers questioned, 28% claimed they were “very” or “extremely likely” to leave their current company in the next 12 months, compared to 19% of workers in 2022.

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While motivations vary, common threads included being overworked and undervalued – with 45% of respondents claiming that their workload had significantly increased in the last 12 months. The majority of workers also reported to being financially stressed, with 11% of respondents struggling to cover basic expenses like bills each month.

But aside from long-established concerns around burnout and pay, some uniquely modern factors have entered into the fold too. For example, the survey reveals that the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence is hugely influencing employees’ decisions, but not in the way you might think. 76% of workers believe generative AI will create opportunities for them to learn new skills, benefiting their career trajectory as a result. This challenges the widely held notion AI will be a destructive force for careers.

Attitudes towards AI weren’t wholly positive, though. Almost half of the respondents (47%) believe that generative AI will change the nature of their work in a negative way, and even more workers don’t trust the technology as an accurate source of information. Whatever the popular consensus is on AI in the workplace, its transformative potential is undeniable.

But, as fluctuating economic conditions and the widespread adoption of AI contribute to an increasingly unpredictable employment landscape – is moving onto perceived greener pastures always a good idea?

Is Quitting Your Job A Good Idea?

In many cases, quitting can be the best course of action for your life and career – especially if you’re underusing your skills or dealing with a toxic or unhealthy workplace environment. It’s important to understand that there’s no wrong reason to quit too. While quitting was once perceived as a failure, in the modern day it’s understood as a logical response from an employee whose needs aren’t being met – whether they desire a healthier work-life balance in the form of a 4-day week, more employee perks, or more opportunities for career progression.

However, with a 2023 Paychex survey revealing the majority of Great Resignation quitters regret their decision, the debate certainly isn’t clear-cut. Of the 825 workers surveyed in Paychex’s survey, over 80% wish they didn’t, with the figure rising to 89% for Gen Z workers.

This widespread remorse –  contributing to what many are dubbing “the great regret’ – was largely caused by workers missing their colleagues and the sense of community they felt in the workplace. However, many Gen Xers also reported missing the work-life balance from their previous jobs the most.

Quitting a job and leaving your co-workers behind is obviously going to mark a difficult period for workers, so the results of the survey are hardly surprising. Yet, while it’s common for workers to experience an initial dip in mental health after parting ways with a company, the decision will likely be justified in the long-run, when the employee makes positive steps in their career and establishes bonds with new colleagues.

Still thinking of handing in your notice? Learn how to write a resignation letter that strikes the perfect note.

What Can Employers Do To Hold Onto Top Talent?

If you’re concerned about talent leakages at your companies, PwC recommends taking a number of steps to make your company a more desirable place to work.

Firstly, as a huge segment of workers faces unmanageable workloads, employers need to do what they can to make sure expectations are realistic. Burnout affects the company as a whole, not just individual workers, so prioritizing the mental health of employees and setting reasonable targets are important ways to look after your most valuable workers.

As AI continues to transform working environments, giving employees the opportunity to explore its potential is an important way to stay ahead of the curve. Rolling out development options like digital upskilling also lets workers augment their labor through the technology, instead of risking being replaced altogether.

You don’t need to spend a fortune to equip your workers with useful skills either. Get the ball rolling by reading our round-up of the best free AI training courses.

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Written by:
Isobel O'Sullivan (BSc) is a senior writer at with over four years of experience covering business and technology news. Since studying Digital Anthropology at University College London (UCL), she’s been a regular contributor to Market Finance’s blog and has also worked as a freelance tech researcher. Isobel’s always up to date with the topics in employment and data security and has a specialist focus on POS and VoIP systems.
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