What does this mean?

‘The Great Resignation’ is a term coined by a professor of business administration at Texas A&M University, Anthony Klotz. This refers to the drastic increase in the number of people looking to leave their jobs since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and especially since the start of 2021. In the United States alone, November 2021 saw the highest resignation rates in the last 20 years, despite the disruptive and tight Labour Market caused by the pandemic.

In a survey conducted by Pew Research Centre, it was found that there were three primary reasons for resignation since the start of 2021, these being low pay (63%), lack of opportunities for advancement (63%) and feeling disrespected in the workplace (57%). 48% of individuals who took part in this survey also said that childcare was a reason for their resignation, this goes hand in hand with the 45% that said that a reason for resignation was not having flexibility in their working hours.

Interestingly, although those that resigned did so in an extremely risky and turbulent time, 61% stated that it was easy to find a new job. Not only did the majority find new jobs, but when compared to their previous jobs 56% reported that they are now earning more money, 53% reported that they have more opportunities for advancement, 53% reported that they have an easier time balancing work and family responsibilities and 50% state that have more flexibility to choose when they put in their work hours.

 

The highest rate of resignation since the beginning of 2021.

Another important observation coming out of this is that the highest rate of resignation since the beginning of 2021 has been amongst the 18-29 year old’s at a figure of 37%. Studies conducted by McKinsey revealed that the core behaviors of Gen Z are all anchored in one element: this generation’s search for truth. ‘They value individual expression and avoid labels. They mobilize themselves for a variety of causes. They believe profoundly in the efficacy of dialogue to solve conflicts and improve the world.’ This could explain why the resignation rate was highest amongst the 18–29-year-old age group and can most likely be attributed to the increase in sensitivity to the following areas due to the COVID19 pandemic:

  • Pandemic experiences led some workers to re-evaluate life priorities and reduce working hours or leave the labor force entirely.
  • Employers demanded employees return to the office after having been allowed to work remotely in 2020
  • Mistreatment by employers and customers during the pandemic pushed workers to leave as other options became available.
  • Wouldn’t comply with workplace COVID-19 vaccination requirements

 

Value employees

It is more important now than it ever has been to see your employees and colleagues as human beings, with their own unique identities, values and desires and to ensure that they feel that they belong and have unique strengths and viewpoints that will add value to your organisation. Leaders must develop the ability to lead through human connection and embrace diversity, belonging and inclusion in the workplace.

Cindy Squair

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