Lots of people quit in 2021. Like, a lot. Month after month, a record number of people put their tools away, shut their laptops, took off their badges, handed in their two week’s notice or simply walked out the door and didn’t go back.
We were curious — what did people leave their jobs to do next? What careers piqued their interest, what training programs did they pursue? We looked at Google Search trends to get an idea.
The first thing we noticed was how global this experience has been. The “Great Resignation” of 2021 is usually talked about as an American phenomenon, but Search trends suggest that people everywhere were looking to leave their jobs. The top countries searching for “how to leave your job” come from five different continents: The Philippines is at the top, followed by South Africa, then the U.S., Australia and the U.K.
Search trends also reveal what career paths people are interested in. To find this out, we looked at the jobs people searched for alongside the phrase “how to become,” such as “how to become an astronaut.” Trends showed us that over the past year, people were most interested in jobs that involve helping others, travel and working in real estate — ideally in a role that doesn’t require a traditional boss. .
Most-searched “how to become” jobs — January 2021-January 2022
- Real estate agent
- Flight attendant
- Personal trainer
- Physical therapist
When drilling down to look at the most-searched “how to become…” jobs in each U.S. state, there were some distinct regional trends. People in the South and Midwest were interested in becoming a notary (with the exception of several Appalachian states). Large portions of the Northeast, Northern Midwest and Western U.S. were interested in real estate careers.
Notably, only two states’ most-searched jobs did not include notary, real estate agent, electrician or pilot: New Mexico, where people were most interested in becoming a flight attendant, and Montana, where people sought information about personal training over any other profession.