You may have seen ‘The Great Resignation’ mentioned in the news and on social media a lot recently and wondered what it was all about. So, what is The Great Resignation and how did it start? A key trigger has been the pandemic and the result of lockdowns, furlough, delayed graduations, and burnout which mean there is now a skill shortage of workers, creating huge demand for employees. This demand for employees means that the boot is now on the other foot and employees are once again in control of the labour market. At a time where people are reassessing their career, work-life balance and want to move roles now the pandemic is more stable, there are an abundance of options to change roles, creating “The Great Resignation”.
Why are more people resigning than ever before?
The individual reasons for resigning from their roles are varied. Many saw this as an opportunity for:
- More autonomy
- A wage increase
- Better work-life balance
- Change in career path
The pandemic brought about one key factor that made all these reasons more accessible, remote working.
Remote working is a flexible working arrangement, allowing employees to work from a remote location. This means that employees don’t need to work in the traditional office location and can effectively work from anywhere, opening more available roles across the globe. For employees, this is great news for some but not for others. Like anything, there are people much happier with this working arrangement due to increased autonomy and flexibility. Although, there are other people who prefer the benefits of office working and couldn’t wait to get back to the office once the restrictions were over.
Furthermore, people aren’t just resigning from their roles and entering similar roles in the same industry. After resigning, people are making very different life choices. Individuals are having “Pandemic epiphanies” which include changing industries, becoming self-employed or even taking early retirement. The pandemic has made people realise that life is too short to be unhappy in their role and have looked to make better life choices for themselves.
Who are most likely to resign during this period?
There is no one-for-all character description of an employee looking to resign during this period. Fortunately, there is some data that suggests it is a younger generation that are more likely to be resigning during this period. There is a staggering statistic that suggests that 77% of 25–34-year-olds are actively looking to change jobs in the next year. Similarly, 74% of 18-24 years olds are aspiring to be in a new position within the next year.
However, it is certainly not just those employees in the early years of their careers looking for change. The number of CEO’s employed in the first 6 months of 2021 jumped to 103 according to Heidrick and Struggles[i], more than doubling the 49 CEO’s employed in the entirety of 2020.
How long will the great resignation last?
Sadly, nobody knows how long The Great Resignation will last. Will people settle down in their roles or has the labour market changed forever? What we do know is that many people have been switching roles to suit their work-life balance, including a larger switch to flexible working and WFH (Working from Home). This includes a lot of people that have now switched jobs to a situation that suits them and have a strong appetite to remain in that role once they’re happy with their working environment. This could possibly suggest that people will now be happy and settle in their roles, however data from the last quarter of 2021 shows that the Great Resignation is still very much alive. In October 2021, nearly 3% of the entire workforce resigned from their roles, surpassing a record high from September 2021. The Great Resignation may continue into 2022 and should be monitored carefully in the near future.
How will the Great Resignation impact you?
The Great Resignation will have affected you already, even if you haven’t realised. It could be longer supply chain waits, difficulty filling roles or even less options due to many businesses struggling to survive the pandemic. It will have even affected your everyday life with restaurants reducing their capacities and extended delivery times on parcels due to businesses struggling with staffing issues.
There are record number of job vacancies in the UK, over 1,247,000 according to ONS(2022). Is this number of vacancies a good thing or a bad thing? Well, it depends on your situation. If you’re a recruitment firm, then you will be very happy with this shift. With more vacancies and people looking for new careers, the options are limitless. However, some industries are really struggling to fill roles and it is having a real affect. The hospitality industry has had a real shock, with the sector having the most vacancies per 100 workers. This will have an impact on the current employees, having to work longer hours to fill in for the vacancies. Unfortunately, a spiral affect could occur with those unhappy employees subsequently looking for a change in job/sector.
How to stop the Great Resignation from having a last effect on your business?
The Great Resignation must be something that businesses consider when making important decisions involving employees. There should now be a greater emphasis on employee support and benefits and business decisions should prove this to your employees. If there was a one-for-all answer to this question, there would no longer be” The Great Resignation”, but there is a lot out there that businesses can do to try and retain their staff.
The obvious way to try and retain staff is to increase the wages of your staff members. When fighting for employees, a higher-than-average wage is probably the greatest incentive you can offer. Most employees will be tempted by a larger wage if it was offered a competitor, so increasing their wages first is a way to solve this issue from occurring in the near future. An example of this is Sainsbury’s increasing their wage to at least £10 an hour. This is much larger than minimum wage and means that staff members are likely to stay, whilst employees from competitors will have an increased interest in joining the company. This is vital in the retail industry, which is facing a shortage of employees, with empty shelves up and down the country, which means retaining healthy workforce is key to success.
Of course, wages aren’t the only factor employees appreciate. One of the greatest gifts companies can offer your employees is education and growth. People love to see that there is more beyond the role, whether that is training to become a supervisor, courses to further their knowledge and even complete retraining through degrees for example. Employees appreciate investment into their personal development, and this is one of the ways to create real employee loyalty.
As well as training, being able to offer a range of benefits can be valuable. Options include private healthcare, decent holiday allowance, flexible working hours and even a 4-day week.
For businesses during this period, it is extremely important to remain protected and ensure you are making the best hiring decisions. As it is now the employee’s labour market, people have options so there is a lot of pressure to on board new team members as quickly as possible. If you take too long processing a candidate’s CV, interviewing or even background screening them, they may have already accepted a new role in that time. Which is why your hiring process should be streamlined, to make it as quick as possible so that employees are accepting your roles before, they have even had chance to consider a competitor because they have been too slow.
As part of your onboarding process, Agenda can help you with creating a seamless candidate journey through our friendly and efficient background screening service. Your candidates will be supported throughout the process, and our expert team will carry out checks to the highest quality so that you can be confident in your hiring decisions. Onboard your perfect candidate and we will take care of verifying their background and providing you with the information as quickly as possible., For a high quality, candidate focused and trusted pre-employment screening service, you’re in safe hands with Agenda.