Welcome to the Great Retraining


The Great Resignation has led to the Great Retraining, especially in the technology workforce, according to a new report from the Cengage Group.

The global education technology company this fall re-surveyed Great Resigners — those who left their jobs during the Covid pandemic — to see how they are doing in their new jobs. More than four out of five of them have no regrets about quitting, and 85% are satisfied with their new jobs. Only 6% are considering going back to their previous job.

Access to employer-sponsored training played a role in where job switchers decided to go, with two-thirds saying it was an important part of their current job, according to the report. Sixty-four percent of Great Resigners noted their current employer pays for online training or upskilling opportunities; 56% said their previous employer did not offer this. Of those whose employers cover online training, 89% plan to take advantage of the opportunity to upskill further.

The report notes that many workers changed jobs because of better pay and more flexibility, but the top reasons they cited were a misalignment of values with their employers and an unclear path to growth — which ties closely to training opportunities and upskilling.

The survey, conducted in November 2022, polled 1,200 Americans ages 25 and older who quit their job and found a new one between May 2021 and May 2022.

Pulled toward tech

In 2021, more than 47 million people reportedly quit their jobs, representing 23% of the total U.S. workforce. Half of Great Resigners also left the industries in which they worked, the report says, with many of them opting to enter the tech field. One-fifth (21%) of job switchers now work in tech.

Two-thirds (67%) of survey respondents — and 77% of tech workers — said they took an online training course to get an advantage in their job search. Nearly nine in 10 (89%) of those who took an online course felt it had a positive effect on them landing a new job.

Preference for short programs

Resigners also prefer shorter bursts of learning, the report adds. More than half of survey participants who took online training or an online class (62%) completed it in less than three months, while 31% enrolled in three- to six-month-long programs. Only 6% reported their online training was more than six months.

“It’s clear after two surveys that online training (upskilling and reskilling) plays an important role in worker mobility/movement across sectors today,” the report says.

The survey also examined why Resigners didn’t take an online training course. More than one-third (36%) reported they felt their current skills/experience were enough, but 21% said they couldn’t afford to take an online course, and 20% said they couldn’t find online training that also offered real-world experience or employer connections through an internship, externship or apprenticeship. Twelve percent indicated they didn’t think online training was offered in their field, and another 12% said they didn’t have time to take a course with their previous job and personal life. Eight percent said they didn’t think employers value such a course.

Related article: ‘Resigners’ take to short, online training programs

A look at healthcare

Amid recent reports of potential layoffs across all sectors but especially in tech, 71% of Resigners indicated they worry that a recession could affect their jobs. Surprisingly, 84% of healthcare workers who found new jobs in the field are concerned about a recession, even though the field is considered more resilient than most.

The report took a closer look at healthcare, noting that employers — like those in tech — were more likely to offer paid online training than other sectors. And having those opportunities was more important to a larger percentage of healthcare workers than among overall survey participants.

The report also notes that healthcare Resigners seem less happy with their professional changes overall. Nearly seven in 10 (69%) of healthcare Rssigners said they weren’t as satisfied with their current job compared to all Resigners (85%).

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.