After only two hours into her shift, Stacy had waited on 47 customers. Although she made $60 in tips, the restaurant passed on the 3.5% credit card surcharge to their waitresses, and she had to split the remainder with the bartender, bus staff, dishwasher, and cook.

“I quit,” said Stacy. “It’s just not worth it.”

Like Stacy, many other frontline workers are leaving their jobs. They’ve left behind 11 million jobs – deskless roles that can only be filled in person. Nurses, bellhops, salesclerks, bus drivers, stockers, and waitstaff.

While COVID has impacted the decision-making process, the most common reason for walking off the job is to take advantage of better pay.

Why frontline workers are leaving their jobs

The transition into new industries is about growth. According to McKenna Moore, LinkedIn News editor, “Waves of people across the U.S. that began the pandemic in frontline careers have chosen to seek jobs with better working conditions and more upward mobility.”

Harvard Business Review has identified many of the non-COVID-related reasons for switching careers. These include:

  • Working for a bad boss
  • Working in an unsafe or unhealthy environment
  • Uninteresting work
  • Lack of growth opportunities or a career path
  • Inflexible duties and responsibilities
  • Transportation difficulties
  • Unpredictable hours
  • Not appreciated
  • No sense of team-building with colleagues.

So, where are the frontline workers going?

Where the frontline workers are headed

Moore also states that “Between 2019 and 2021, thousands of frontline workers transitioned into new fields such as real estate, an industry that had a whopping 15.2% growth in transitions, according to new data from LinkedIn’s Economic Graph team. Other standout industries include construction (+12.1%), technology, information, and media (+11.2%), transportation, logistics and storage (+10.7%), and farming, ranking, and forestry (+10.2%).”

Men have migrated toward transportation/warehousing, financial activities, and retail trade. Women leaving the frontline are seeking new careers in utilities and construction.

One of the explanations for so many women entering the construction field is that more women like Stacy were affected during the pandemic: their jobs evaporated, or they decided to commit to something more meaningful and fulfilling.

As the frontline workers are leaving their jobs, you can attract them to your business with the help of a professional recruiter. Be prepared to make an early and strong commitment to attracting, onboarding, and especially retaining top talent. You’ll need to offer a highly competitive wage, provide training, and use incentives to keep your new workforce engaged and committed to your business.

The Stacys looking for new careers are counting on your support.

About The Author. 

Jeff Raymond (, President and Founder of Raymond Search Group (, is an industry-leading recruiter specializing in Construction and Real Estate, Engineering, Architecture, HVACR/R, Building Automation Systems, MEPF, and Manufacturing. Jeff is known for delivering the top 5% of industry talent to his clients with unrivaled efficiency and network. Clients and candidates alike rely on Jeff as a trusted advisor through his recruiting expertise and industry insight.

Jeff earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, Management, and Operations from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He is experienced in the construction industry and is Procore certified in multiple areas. He is an active member of the Urban Land Institute, ASHRAE, the Institute of Refrigeration (IOR), and The OSHA Education Center Association.