The Great Resignation: In Crisis, Opportunity

5 minutes

The Great Resignation: In Crisis, Opportunity

The pandemic gave people an opportunity to slow down, to think, and self-reflect. All that time spent home alone led many of us to reconsider how we are spending our lives. For a growing number of Americans, that has meant quitting their jobs in the search for something better.

The pandemic gave people an opportunity to slow down, to think, and self-reflect. All that time spent home alone led many of us to reconsider how we are spending our livesFor a growing number of Americans, that has meant quitting their jobs in the search for something better. 

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the quit rate reached a series high of 2.9% for the month of August 2021The restaurant, retail, healthcare, and tech sectors continue to sustain a heavy impact even with hiring increases in September 2021


According to the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) Business Conditions Survey for October 2021, 47% of employers struggled with labor shortages in Q3. Survey respondents believe that hiring will improve in 2022 (36%) or 2023 (14%).


Employee satisfaction matters. 


Employees who have walked away from their jobs during the pandemic, and now, during the prolonged recovery, have different reasons. Some, as we know, resigned to take care of their families. Others left because they felt unsafe at work or devalued by their employer. Then, there are people who simply wanted to make a change, with a new realization of their priorities in life. 


Data from a Pew Research Center survey reports that 23% of employees who are in the same job as before the pandemic report being dissatisfied with their work. They cite less job security and fewer advancement opportunities. 


Those in jobs that require a physical presence report varying degrees of satisfaction based on race, age, and income levels. White workers (45%), workers age 50+ (50%), and upper income workers (49%) are faring the best when it comes to feeling safe and well protected in their place of work.


Expectations are different today, as are the measures of employee satisfaction. According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), employers “need to create environments and opportunities for employees to share their desires and difficulties in personalized ways, and then respond to the feedback in a way that makes the employees feel heard.” 


New expectations for 2022 and beyond.


By the end of September 2021, the number of people not in the labor force, but actively looking for work, was 6.0 million (BLS data)Wage increases and other financial incentives can help get them in the door. But, ensuring that they stay is going to take a lot more. 


Today’s workers are looking for:

  •     Opportunity to balance life and work, with flexible working hours.