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October 11, 2021

Holy Shift: The “Great Resignation” is On


Call it the "Great Resignation,” “Tsunami Turnover,” or “Big Quit.” By any name, it describes the unprecedented shift companies are experiencing due to a staggering transformation of the American workforce.

Employee Resignation Studies Point to the Workplace

And as recent data shows from multiple studies, as well as our experience with clients, it’s a workplace issue.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that 11.5 million Americans left their jobs during the months of April, May, and June. Adding to the upheaval is the fact that a record number of Baby Boomers retired during the pandemic. And it does not appear “The Great Resignation” will relent anytime soon.

Gallup research revealed that 48% of American workers are actively eyeing other opportunities. The “movement” appears to be on the uptick as a recent Bankrate survey indicated that more than half (55%) of the American workforce intends to search for new employment over the next year.

What’s more, a report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shared that 55% of workers in the country had team members quit, which triggered others to consider doing so. More than 40% of respondents to the organization’s survey indicated they have thought more often about leaving after their co-workers departed.

The massive shift in the workforce is not linked to any one specific job category. Gallup discovered all workers, from service roles to professionals, are searching for new jobs at similar rates.

Younger workers, lower-waged working Americans and minorities make up more than half of the workforce looking for new roles as they deal with the impact from a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Nearly 7 in 10 Black and Hispanic Americans are planning to search for a new position while among whites, the figure is 47%, according to Bankrate.

The SHRM report identified these top reasons for employees deciding to leave their jobs:

  • Better compensation
  • Better work/life balance
  • Better benefits
  • Career advancement opportunities
  • Desire to make a career change

In our next post, we’ll discuss how the pandemic got people focused on what’s important, and bring to life the “Great Divide” that many organizations see today – between those who can’t work from home, and those who have the “luxury of working from home,” as one CHRO told me recently.

How would you describe the shift happening in your workplace?

David Grossman

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