Layoffs are on the rise, but nearly 50% of workers are still looking to quit in 2023

Four in ten workers are even considering going back to their previous employer, a recent survey shows

Hiring freezes and layoffs are on the rise as the uncertain economy drives major players in the tech, automobile, media and food industries to make unprecedented cutbacks in their operations. But now, new data shows nearly half of all workers are looking to quit anyway.

Even with growing concerns of a potential recession, 46% of professionals are already looking or plan to find a new job in the first half of the new year, according to a recent survey from business consulting firm Robert Half. That's up from 41% six months ago, according to the company's biannual Job Optimism Survey.

Amazon Andy Jassy

The exterior of The Spheres is seen at the Inc. headquarters on May 20, 2021, in Seattle, Washington and current CEO Andy Jassy (Photos by: David Ryder/Getty Images and Mike Blake/Reuters) ((Photos by: David Ryder/Getty Images and Mike Blake/Reuters) / Reuters Photos)

Amazon, Apple, Meta Platforms, Lyft and Twitter were among technology companies announcing hiring freezes or layoffs in recent months. In fact, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy told employees in a memo made public that layoffs will continue in 2023. 


The media industry was also recently hit hard as hundreds of industry staffers were laid off in recent weeks including those who worked for BuzzFeed, CNN and Gannett, the company that owns dozens of local media outlets and USA Today. Digital media company BuzzFeed, one of the latest media companies to reduce its workforce, said it's trying to "weather the economic downturn" which it projects will extend into 2023. 


Meta corporate headquarters is seen in Menlo Park, California on Nov. 9, 2022.  (JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

DoorDash and PepsiCo have also eliminated jobs in addition to multinational automaker Stellantis, which announced it was indefinitely closing an assembly plant in Illinois. 

Still, 60% of 18-25-year-olds in the workforce who were surveyed said they are likely to jump ship. 


A number of human resources professionals and employees who have been with their company between two and four years are in a similar boat with 58% and 55% of workers, respectively, looking to move on. 

Just over half of working parents are also likely to make a change in the first half of the new year, the survey showed. 

"Noise around hiring freezes and layoffs at some companies hasn't seemed to faze workers – many are just as confident in their job prospects as they were six months ago," Paul McDonald, a senior executive director at Robert Half, said in a statement. 


Two Amazon delivery vans, on 15 November, 2022 in Madrid, Spain.  (Alejandro Martinez Velez/Europa Press via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Given the tight labor market, workers "are curious about exploring new and more fulfilling career paths," McDonald added. 


More than 60% of people say they are seeking a higher salary while 37% said better benefits and perks are the driving factors. Additionally, 36% say they want greater flexibility to choose when and where they work. 

The data also showed that four in 10 employees said they would consider returning to their previous employers if their salary was matched or greater than their current pay. 

About three in 10 employees are even considering full-time contracting, the survey showed. 

A separate report from Intuit QuickBooks also revealed how the current tumultuous economic environment – with high inflation and high interest rates – is motivating Americans to pursue their own business venture.

In fact, business formation hovered "at a historically high level in 2022," according to the Intuit QuickBooks report.