A number of employees stayed in their jobs throughout 2020 even though they weren’t thrilled with their situation, with 6 million fewer departures occurring than did in 2019. But things changed in 2021: Between March and July alone, 19 million workers quit their jobs, 7 million more than did during the same period last year.
In a survey of 1,000 full-time U.S. workers who started a new job in 2021, the employee experience firm Limeaid found the drivers of these resignations were burnout, a lack of flexibility and not feeling valued.
Titled the Great Resignation Update, the report found that 28% of employees left their jobs without having lined up another position. They cited burnout (40%), organizational changes at their company (34%) and a lack of flexibility, instances of discrimination, and contributions and ideas not being valued (all tied at 20%). In addition, 19% of employees left due to insufficient benefits while 16% resigned because their well-being wasn’t supported by their employer.
Those wanting to improve their work situation put a relatively high value on the ability to work remotely (40%) and other forms of flexibility (24%), like not being restricted to complete job responsibilities during set working hours.
‘A Societal Breakdown’
Employees who changed jobs said they were attracted to their new position by the ability to work remotely (40%), better compensation (37%) and better management (31%).
And “better” compensation apparently means better compensation: Nearly a third of these workers – 29% – received a 10% to 19% salary increase. About 13% took a pay cut for a new position, while 23% kept their pay the same, indicating that better compensation isn’t always a requirement for job changers. Meanwhile, 22% reported improved feelings about being cared for “as a person” by their new employer.
Dr. Laura Hamill, Limeaid’s chief science advisor, said the “mass exodus” from current positions is a sign of burnout and “a societal breakdown when it came to the ecosystem of work, home and well-being. People reached their limits.” She called the Great Resignation “a great opportunity for employers to evolve, learn and do better.” Employers who “learn and grow from this feedback will succeed,” she said.
By Mark Feffer
Mark Feffer is executive editor of RecruitingDaily and the HCM Technology Report. He’s written for TechTarget, HR Magazine, SHRM, Dice Insights, TLNT.com and TalentCulture, as well as Dow Jones, Bloomberg and Staffing Industry Analysts. He likes schnauzers, sailing and Kentucky-distilled beverages.
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