Great Careers Groups Career Management Great Gloom Follows Great Resignation with Unhappy Employees

Great Gloom Follows Great Resignation with Unhappy Employees

The Great Gloom Follows The Great Resignation with Unhappy Employees

The Great Gloom and the decline in employee happiness in 2023 follow the Great Resignation of 2020. Employee happiness has steadily decreased since the start of 2020, with a steep drop in June 2023, according to a study by BambooHR.

Overall satisfaction scores fell 11% from June 2022 to June 2023, declining nearly 15 times faster than combined in the previous two years.

The emergence of The Great Gloom and the decline in employee happiness are attributed to remote work challenges, job choices, and increased inflation.

The data leading up to The Great Gloom is based on BambooHR’s Employee Net Promoter Scores (eNPS), collected from January 2020 through June 2023.

BambooHR analyzed data from over 1,600 companies and more than 1.4 billion self-reported eNPS scores.


  • Use data-driven approaches to measure employee happiness through anonymous surveys like BambooHR Employee Satisfaction.
  • Focus on industry-specific norms to understand how macroeconomic challenges impact different sectors.


Note that the industries listed below are in decreasing ranking order (by Average eNPS in H1 2023).

Construction Industry:

  • The happiest industry is construction, thanks to high demand, job stability, and higher wages with consistently high eNPS.
  • Focus on refining recruitment and training strategies due to potential labor shortages of up to 546,000 workers, as The Associated Builders and Contractors estimated.

Technology Sector:

  • Experiencing a sharp decline in happiness, possibly due to return-to-office mandates.
  • Consider advocating for flexible or fully remote work environments.

Finance Industry:

  • Happiness has been gradually declining.
  • Openness to remote and hybrid work and a focus on company culture have sustained high satisfaction.

Nonprofit Sector:

  • Showing an increase in employee happiness, driven by mission-driven cultures.
  • Focus on benefits and professional development opportunities.

Restaurant and Food & Beverage Industry:

  • Happiness is declining but with signs of softening.
  • Address labor unions and staff shortages, and offer professional development.

Travel and Hospitality Industry:

  • Employee happiness is improving as the industry recovers.
  • Focus on recruitment, retention, compensation, benefits, and professional development.

Education Sector:

  • Education is experiencing increasing unhappiness with high volatility. According to The National Education Association, happiness fell 5% between June 2022 and June 2023, twice as fast as in the previous two years, and 55% of more than 3600 educators may change careers or retire early.
  • Address stress management, compensation, and support while managing political pressure.

Healthcare Industry:

  • The unhappiest industry is the healthcare industry, which has seen the most significant decline in employee happiness, with healthcare employee happiness dropping 32% between June 2020 and June 2023.
  • Address the trauma, dissatisfaction, and burnout resulting from the pandemic, refocus on values, and think beyond practitioners.

Overall Trends:

  • Employee happiness reached an all-time low in June 2023.
  • 2023 shows dramatic, atypical patterns similar to the early months of the pandemic.
  • Employees are experiencing resignation or apathy rather than extreme highs and lows.


HR professionals can play a crucial role in improving employee engagement by setting clear goals, providing recognition, and having meaningful conversations with employees to minimize The Great Gloom.

Resilient companies should focus on workforce agility, capability, diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, listen to employees’ views, offer flexible work arrangements, and provide training and career development programs.

Ultimately, employers may need to shift their focus from perks to strategies emphasizing employee strengths and goals to improve engagement effectively.


Individuals are cleaning up their resumes and LinkedIn profiles as a good practice for career management. Why?

According to LinkedIn statistics, 117 job applications are submitted every second, and this statistic is only on this one platform. 


If you are an employer and don’t want to lose valuable employees, consider what moves you could make to increase employee happiness.

According to SHRM, the average hire cost is almost $4,700, and the average workplace learning cost is $1,280 per employee, according to the ATD.

Employers may have some serious thinking to do if they want to keep their valuable employees. 

Budgets will typically clear at the beginning of each year, so expectations are that employers will be engaged in “measured hiring” in Q4, as reported by Jack Kelly

Of course, the hiring may depend on how many people jump ship before they receive their potential year-end bonuses. Unhappy employees may wait for their bonus and then move on!



Lynne M. Williams is the Executive Director of the Great Careers Groups, a volunteer-run 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides career development and networking connections for 1) job seekers in career transition, including veterans, and 2) employed and self-employed for career management.

Aside from writing keyword-focused content for ATS resumes and LinkedIn profiles, Lynne is currently writing her doctoral dissertation on LinkedIn for Job Seekers. She is a contributing author on “Applying to Positions” in Find Your Fit: A Practical Guide to Landing the Job You Love, along with the late Dick Bolles, the author of What Color is Your Parachute?, and is also a speaker on career topics.

This article is also published on:,,,, and in the author’s LinkedIn newsletter. A list of articles can also be found in a Google doc.