The Great Resignation…
or maybe it really should be called the Great RESHUFFLE
People are still quitting in droves. The number of Americans quitting their jobs hit an all-time high of 4.5m in November 2021 with over 10.6 million vacancies available (down from 11.1 million in Oct). This high number can be viewed as a sign of confidence and more evidence that the U.S. job market is bouncing back strongly from last year’s coronavirus recession.
Those quitting and leaving were led by women, workers in retail services (Accommodations, Food & Beverage, and Facilities were the top three), and employees in areas with low vaccination rates. Folks in hospitality quit their job the most, with a quits rate of 6.1%. Nick Bunker, research director at the Indeed Hiring Lab, noted that quits were high in the low-wage hotel and restaurant industries. “Lots of quits means stronger worker bargaining power which will likely feed into strong wage gains,″ he said. “Wage growth was very strong in 2021, and … we might see more of the same in 2022.″
Where are the people leaving in droves located? The upper midwestern US has been hit the hardest, where COVID cases have remained high.
Still, the Labor Department collected the numbers BEFORE COVID-19′s omicron variant had spread widely in the United States. “While each successive wave of the pandemic caused less economic damage, there is still a risk to the labor market from the current surge of cases,″ Bunker said.
So is this quitting frenzy over? According to a CareerArc/Harrods poll suggests that resignations will increase in 2022. The poll reveals 23 percent of employed Americans will quit their jobs over the next twelve months. The poll also calls out the majority plan to quit in Q1 of 2022. And the top reason (32%) is the desire for better working conditions with burnout (30%) and higher pay (29%) a close second and third.
Heidi Shierholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute, points out that at the same time, 6.7m people were hired. “People who quit are taking other jobs, not leaving the workforce,” she wrote in a tweet. This makes sense since the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.2%, close to what economists consider full employment.
In other words, “The Great Resignation” is less of a mass movement of people aimlessly screaming out “I QUIT!” and more of a national job swap. So really, it’s “The Great Reshuffle”.
Holding on for dear talent.
What is your organization doing to preempt high turnover as well as prepare for it? How are you validating your organization is offering better working conditions, reducing burnout, and providing the best salary you can?
- Better Working Conditions: When was the last time you heard from and LISTEN to your employees? Is it time to do an employee survey or focus group? How about stay interviews? Do you have a way for your employees to have a voice, feel heard, and leadership actually takes actions on the feedback? How can you create the best working conditions if you don’t know what your employees actually want?
- Reduce Burnout: What benefits and programs are you offering your employees to support them? Have you thought about a widespride day off? Are you training your managers to connect more with their direct reports, not only on business actions but as a human being?
- Best Salary Options: When was the last time you did a market survey to see where you pay compared to the market? Refering to salary surveys and determine the cost of replacing full-time employees in industries similar to your own can help you understand if you are paying a fiar wage (or lower). Just be aware that the salary survey data lags behind (it is not to-date, live data). Another source of data companies are looking to, is from their recruiting team. Talent Acquisition teams are your front-line workers interacting with candidates and hearing in real-time what they are demanding. Use both data sets to implement innovative ways to offer long-term incentives as a deterrence for employees to think twice about leaving for another opportunity.
Though some employees may leave their roles no matter what, your organization can implement policies and benefits to persuade on-the-fence employees to stay.
“As the social contract of work continues to be rewritten thanks to the pandemic, employees will stay in the driver’s seat,” Mark Lobosco, VP of talent solutions at LinkedIn, told HR Brew. To retain workers, Lobosco says employers must identify which benefits are essential to employees and work expediently to offer them.
“A clear example of this is employers’ response to the growing appetite for remote work,” Lobosco said. “In March 2020 only one in 67 paid US jobs on LinkedIn offered remote work, but now that number has exploded and is up to nearly one in 6.” That is a 16 percentage point increase! The flexibility that remote work allows has been heralded as critical to retaining women and caregivers, but can also allow all workers much needed time to unplug. Although remote work is here to stay, 62% of employees want a hybrid work environment, according to Eden Workforce Sentiment Survey.