The Great Resignation: Why a quarter of UK workers are planning a job change?
The Great Resignation or the Big Quit - the ongoing trend of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs - has seen nearly two million UK adults leave their jobs since the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to research by Randstad UK, 24 per cent of all workers are actively planning to change employment, prompted by a high number of vacancies and burnout.
In addition, almost 70 per cent of all workers felt confident about moving to a new role within the next few months. For comparison, Randstad UK normally expects only up to 11 per cent of workers to move jobs every year.
The emerging situation is even more discernible in the US, where more than 4.3 million Americans left their jobs in August 2021 – equivalent to 2.9 per cent of the national workforce – the highest number on record.
Based on the new industry research from Unum, with record levels of open job vacancies, SMEs are particularly at risk of losing talent as there tends to be less focus on employee benefits and wellbeing, often due to budget or staffing concerns. Around one-third of SMEs have no plans to introduce changes to their benefits packages, leaving them vulnerable to disengaged employees.
On the other hand, employees are now placing more value on their work-life balance, flexibility, and passion for the role, rather than solely remuneration or bonuses. As more communications and marketing professionals started reflecting and rethinking their current and future opportunities, promoted by reasons such as changing working conditions and personal circumstances, the priorities shifted.
According to Anthony Klotz - an associate professor of management at Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, who coined the term Great Resignation, and predicted the mass worker exodus - the departures in the workplace are a phenomenon that can have a lasting change. However, the causes are multi-faceted and include both burnout and dissatisfaction with the pandemic responses, as well as signs of stabilizing economy.
For a majority, the Big Quit is an overwhelmingly positive sign of progression. Communications and marketing professionals are putting their wellbeing first, making conscious choices to permanently stop toxic dynamics and resigning out of empowerment, ennui, or desire to grow. However, it is also important to highlight those who quit due to untenable working conditions or childcare responsibilities – both telling a vastly different narrative.
For professional jobs, the pandemic has afforded benefits that were previously unavailable or rare, such as remote work, cutting out the commute time, improving flexibility and the ability to spend more time with friends and family. Employees are continuously emphasizing these perks when considering new roles, and most will not be giving up these easily – if companies don’t provide flexibility, more people may resign.
This puts many businesses at crossroads – as they become increasingly concerned that their best talent may resign soon, it is an opportunity to adapt and position themselves as an employer that listens and supports their staff, committing to a wellbeing strategy that works for all employees. After all, a happy and healthy workforce is a productive one, so the advantages of flexible working and support benefit not only individuals but the business operation as a whole.
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