Understanding the Great Resignation

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As of 2022, 44% of employees are “job seekers.” This is a continuing statistic
from 2021, where an annual record of almost 48 million people quit their
jobs. Pew Research explains this ‘Great Resignation’ as a phenomenon
wherein low pay (63%), a lack of opportunities for advancement (63%) and
feeling disrespected at work (57%) contributed to Americans quitting their
jobs. It is clear that this phenomenon is transforming the American workforce.

Where did it come from?

It’s easy to blame the pandemic for the increase of stress on workers and
students, given the timing. Burnout was real, with 79% of employees reporting
work-related stress in 2021. Our previous article on  Job Stress  details how lab
nurses in particular had to work around the clock, and how one out of every
five health care workers quit their job since 2020.

However, HBR argues that a scrutiny of the context of total employment
during the past dozen years is needed. From 2009 to 2019, the average
monthly quit rate increased by 0.10 percentage points each year.

What does this mean?

This means that while a record number of workers quit their job in 2021, this
number includes the many workers who might otherwise have quit in 2020
even if there were no pandemic. This is no global short-term phenomenon, but
rather the continuation of a long-term trend.

To stem the tide of resignations, companies must address the root causes of
why employees are dissatisfied with their workplace. This is precisely what
most employers have been trying to do in order to appeal to new recruits and old time employees.

Implications for the future

Increase in wage and benefits

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, workers saw the average pay
grow by 5.1% in 2021 to $31.58 an hour. Additionally, more employers are
upgrading their total compensation packages by increasing 401K contributions
and expanding benefits, after having found that non-wage compensations can
increase employee retention.

More learning and development opportunities

As the pandemic caused employees to question the meaning of work,
preferences for growth and development grew. A study showed how 94% of
employees would stay at their companies longer if offered the platform to
grow, as development programs allowed them to see a dynamic, long-term
picture in their workplace.

LHH examined the ‘turnover tsunami’  and found a relationship between one’s
appetite for learning and career mobility and one’s age. Gen Z respondents
(74%) and millennials (68%) showed the most pronounced desire for learning
opportunities in particular. In an effort to appeal to these young and fresh
recruits, more than 67% of HR managers received an increased budget for
training in 2022 to boost their learning and development programs.

More competition

Ultimately, the reason for employers scrambling to appeal to new employees
is the tighter competition within the workforce. However, this means
competition for job seekers as well. For new grads, the Fast Company
scrutinized the advantage 
that they have in the new job market. 57% of
employer’s say new job seekers have the upper hand in today’s entry-level job
market, and 58% of recent grads say that it’s the employers who have the

These equal perspectives only mean that both sides go into the interview
process prepared to make the most out of the experience, which is very different to the previous trend where the employers held all the cards. Rather than the job seekers fighting for the jobs.
The Great Resignation has also led to employers fighting for employees.

The Great Resignation is many things. In the end, however, it’s clear evidence
of the resilience and spirit of the American workforce. Times are changing,
and it’s up to young Americans to find our safe port and make it safely through.

different to the previous trend where the employers held all the cards. Rather
than the job seekers fighting for the jobs, The Great Resignation has also led
to employers fighting for employees

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