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'The Great Resignation' – to be discontinued!

'The Great Resignation' – to be discontinued!

The pandemic has clearly made workers reassess their careers and think carefully about what they want do in future and more importantly the kind of company they want to work for. But are employees really looking to quit their current employers in their droves in 2022 as we are led to believe?

Coined by Professor Anthony Klotz of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, ‘The Great Resignation’ hit home in the US as four million Americans left their jobs in July with a record 10.9m open jobs in the same month according to figures released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data from the Office for National Statistics published in October 2021 also revealed that there are currently over one million job vacancies in the UK. And as we discovered in a previous survey, employers are struggling to find talent and the primary reason for that would seem to be a lack of suitable skills.

Clearly, there is a very real war for talent at the moment and in this candidate-led market employers can ill afford to let their best people go. But are workers so dissatisfied and disgruntled that they are seriously considering leaving their jobs en masse? To better understand just how much of a problem this is, we ran our own survey on LinkedIn to see what our global followers are saying and learn if organisations need to take heed and urgently ramp up their retention efforts.

Desire to quit

The key findings from our survey (thanks to our 400+ respondents) were as follows:

  • The majority (52%) are thinking about quitting
  • Over 1 in 5 (22%) would like to quit but can’t
  • Just 16% are very happy where they are
  • Only 1 in 10 have no plans to leave

So what can we read into the numbers? While some would like to leave but can’t (for a number of reasons such as finances etc.) what is interesting is that over half are thinking about quitting. Although this doesn’t translate to taking concrete step towards the exit door, nevertheless this figure should be of concern to organisations, HR teams and hiring managers alike. Add to this that so few are satisfied in their jobs and that doesn’t really bring a lot of Xmas or NY cheer.

While a lot may will depend on the sector, for example the higher numbers of resignations seen in the tech sector can be explained by the high demand for these skills and therefore plenty of opportunities for those individuals with the right skills, retention must remain a top priority. Employers must seek to not just address monetary rewards but look at their total offering, including flexible working and opportunities for development. And rather than seek feedback via exit interviews, how trying to understand how their people feel about the culture and work environment sooner?  

In some ways, the fact that workers are just thinking about leaving could be perceived as good news. But as research has shown, even those who are counter-offered by their employer will likely leave in the next 12 months. Just like exit interviews, it’s probably a case of too little too late. From the onboarding stage onwards, retention and loyalty are earned over time.

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