4 types of older workers who quit during the pandemic


    Older man
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    The Great Resignation remains in full force, with 4.5 million workers quitting their jobs in November, according to the latest data from the US Department of Labor.

    Statistics show that older workers make up a surprising number of those who left their jobs during the pandemic. Overall, workers 55 years of age and older were more likely to leave the job within a year by 7.6%, according to a data analysis from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. That was a 50% increase over the pre-pandemic rate.

    While some workers are leaving their jobs to take on other roles elsewhere, others are leaving the workforce for good.

    Below are four types of older workers who, according to the Center for Aging Research, were more likely to have left their jobs during the pandemic.

    1. Women

    Elderly woman working in cafe
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    Older women were slightly more likely to quit their jobs than men during the pandemic. Compared to the pre-pandemic trend, the number of older women who left their jobs over the course of a year increased by 8%.

    This displaced the 7% increase in older men who left work during the COVID-19 era.

    The fact that older women are more likely to quit than older men reflects a larger trend with women of all ages leaving their jobs more often than their male counterparts, according to data.

    2. Asian Americans

    Elderly woman works
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    For most ethnic groups, the number of older workers who have left the labor force has increased by around 7 percentage points compared to pre-pandemic norms. But the increase among older Asian Americans was much larger, about 12%.

    In April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nearly half – 48% – of the 615,000 unemployed workers in the Asian-American community had been jobless for at least six months, significantly higher than the percentage for workers from other races.

    Experts attributed the trend to the fact that low-wage industries, in which a disproportionately large number of workers from Asian and Pacific islanders were populated, did not recover as quickly as other parts of the economy. It is possible that quite a number of these older workers have simply decided to leave the workforce for good.

    3. High school graduates

    Older worker
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    Among older college graduates, the rate of workers leaving the workforce rose 6% compared to pre-pandemic rates. However, the rate was significantly higher for those with only a high school diploma: 11%.

    4. Those who cannot work remotely

    Elderly woman working remotely
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    For older workers, being able to work remotely has been the biggest factor separating workers who have quit from those who have stayed in their jobs.

    Workers who could do their jobs remotely quit at a rate only 4% higher than in the pre-pandemic era. In contrast, that number rose to 10% for those whose job was not well suited to remote working.

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