Half of US workers mulling new jobs, careers after pandemic: survey

Roughly half of U.S. workers are reconsidering their current jobs and are willing to learn new skills to work in a different industry, according to a poll from Prudential Financial released Tuesday.

The poll — which was conducted online May 25-27 and surveyed 2,000 employed adults — found that half of all respondents said the COVID-19 pandemic has given them more control over their careers.

Forty-eight percent of respondents said they were mulling whether to stay in their current job, 53 percent said they would retrain for a career in a different field and 24 percent plan to look for a new job at the end of the pandemic.

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The survey results are the latest insight into why both jobs openings and voluntary quits have reached record highs, even as millions of Americans remain out of work or out of the labor force altogether.

The U.S. had added a solid but underwhelming average of 540,000 job gains over the past three months, well below the 1 million-plus monthly job gains many economists anticipated. Employers across the U.S. have also reported trouble hiring workers without significantly raising wages, and many workers formerly employed in the restaurant, bar and retail industries have been hesitant to return.

Republican lawmakers and right-leaning economists have blamed expanded unemployment benefits extended by President BidenJoe BidenHouse clears bill to provide veterans with cost-of-living adjustment On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default To reduce poverty, stop burdening the poor: What Joe Manchin gets wrong about the child tax credit MORE for the hiring snags. But the survey from Prudential shows a broader range of reasons why workers are hesitant to take some jobs.

Half of respondents to the Prudential survey who plan to leave their jobs say compensation is their primary reason. Another 38 percent cited challenges balancing work and their personal lives, and 34 percent said a lack of growth opportunities. 

Caregiving responsibilities are also a significant roadblock for many workers who have been forced to limit hours or leave their jobs to take care of loved ones. Forty-five percent of caregivers who responded to the Prudential survey said they have considered leaving the workforce to handle those responsibilities, and 47 percent of those working remotely would quit if they had to return to the office.