It's a trend that can be seen across workers of all ages and all wage-brackets, including those who earn six-figures: Americans are quitting at the highest rate since 2001. More than 3 million workers voluntarily leave their jobs each month.
In fact, according to a new report from Ladders, most workers making more than $100,000 are planning to quit their jobs within a year.
Ladders surveyed more than 50,000 workers earning over six-figures and found that 67 percent see themselves at the different company in just six months. About 40 percent would move out-of-state for just $10,000 more in pay.
"The gold rush of 2019 is on," Ladders CEO Marc Cenedella tells CNBC Make It. "With an incredibly strong employment market, more professionals than ever are on the lookout for a better future."
Experts like Brian Kropp, vice president at research firm Gartner, and Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, suggest that the reason so many American workers are leaving their jobs is because quitting is the best chance they have at getting a raise right now. The current labor market has 7 million unfilled jobs, but is not providing significant wage growth.
According to Kropp, the average increase in compensation for a worker who quits their old job for a new one in today's tight labor market is about 15 percent. "You're never going to get that 15 percent [increase] by staying at your current job," he tells CNBC Make It. "That's just not going to happen."
Getting promoted used to be one of the best ways for workers to increase their earnings, but after the financial crisis, internal promotions have become less common. "One of the big things that happened during the global financial crisis is that organizations pulled out all sorts of layers of middle management, which actually makes it harder to get promoted," says Kropp. "Simply put, there are fewer opportunities to get promoted."
This lack of mobility may be one reason that high-earning workers, who typically have several years of experience, are willing to leave their roles.
"Younger employees have always quit at a higher rate. That was true when Gen Xers were in their 20s. That was true when Boomers were in their 20s. That's just a fact," explains Kropp. "What's interesting, is that we are now seeing employees who are more established in their careers also quitting at higher rates."
The incentives to quit apply to workers of all age groups and experience levels, he says. "The reason people are quitting today is because the labor market is so competitive that the only way they can get a significant increase in income is by quitting and going to another job."
According to Chamberlain, these labor market dynamics indicate that antsy high-earners have the right idea. "We're seeing high worker confidence in their ability to strike out and find a better job opportunity elsewhere," he tells CNBC Make It. "For many, it's a smart move, as there's a clear advantage to increasing your earning potential by switching jobs."
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