'Great Resignation' Not Over Yet: Understanding The Phenomenon

The Great Resignation period refers to a historic wave where a record number of employees across the US chose to quit their jobs in 2022.

'Great Resignation' Not Over Yet: Understanding The Phenomenon

Great Resignation: Workers are focusing more on learning new skills

At least 28% of workers globally are planning to switch jobs over the next year, a new survey has revealed. Of the 56,000 respondents in the PwC's 2024 ‘Hopes and Fears' survey, 28% said that they were "very or extremely likely" to change jobs in the next 12 months.

The number has spiked from 19% during the "Great Resignation" period of 2022 and 26% in 2023, reported Reuters.

What is ‘Great Resignation'?

The Great Resignation period refers to a historic wave where a record number of employees across the US chose to quit their jobs. More than 47 million Americans voluntarily left their positions, driven largely by the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This trend had far-reaching effects, leading to widespread worker shortages across various sectors. Businesses such as gas stations and dental offices had to reduce their hours due to difficulties in finding replacements for departing employees. 

Texas A&M University Professor Anthony Klotz, introduced the term "Great Resignation", suggesting that many workers who had held off on quitting during the early stages of the pandemic were now leaving their jobs in larger numbers. 

Factors leading to the Great Resignation

  • COVID-19: The pandemic made people reconsider their career priorities. Some realised they wanted more fulfilling work or a better balance between work and life. 
  • Remote work: Many jobs went remote during the pandemic. Some people liked working from home so much that they didn't want to go back to their old jobs.
  • Burnout: The stress and burnout caused by the pandemic, coupled with long hours and blurred boundaries between work and personal life, pushed many workers to seek a change.
  • Career reassessment: Many took the opportunity during the pandemic to reflect on their career paths and goals. Some decided to leave jobs that didn't feel right anymore.
  • Job dissatisfaction: Some workers became dissatisfied with their current jobs due to factors such as lack of growth opportunities, inadequate compensation or poor working conditions.

While COVID-19 certainly played a major role in triggering this wave of resignations, some experts argue that the Great Resignation is not just a short-term effect of the pandemic. Instead, they see it as part of a longer-term trend that has been unfolding over the past decade or more. This trend reflects broader changes in the workforce, including shifts in worker preferences, reevaluation of career priorities and evolving expectations about work-life balance.

According to the new PwC ‘Hopes and Fears' report, many employees are starting to use advanced technologies like AI to improve their work efficiency. Workers are focusing more on learning new skills to keep up with changes at work and in technology. Nearly half of the employees surveyed believe GenAI will lead to better pay and higher-quality work. A majority (62%) of respondents reported experiencing more workplace changes in the past year compared to the previous year.

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