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The Great Resignation

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What began in America, with a record number of workers quitting their jobs in September (3 per cent of the entire workforce), The Great Resignation is predicted to sweep across the UK in 2022.

A recent survey of 6,000 workers found that 69 per cent of employees were feeling confident about moving to a new role in the next few months, with 24 per cent planning a change within three to six months.

With almost a quarter of workers actively planning to either start looking or to change jobs in quarter one of 2022, The Great Resignation is set to wreak havoc on the UK talent market in the New Year.

Or is it?

The Great Contemplation

According to Forbes, the phenomenon doesn’t yet exist, and should perhaps be reframed as The Great Contemplation. Maybe what we are seeing is a Winter of Discontent as UK employees re-evaluate their careers, asking themselves some key questions:

·       Am I being paid fairly, and am I a valued part of my organisation?

·       Is my contribution recognised and am I respected by my colleagues?

·       Does my organisation stand for something and do our values align?

·       Can I work flexibly and does my employer support ongoing hybrid working?

·       Am I fulfilled in my job, and does it give me the work/life balance I want?

In a recent US poll the following were cited as the main reasons why post pandemic, employees are leaving their jobs in droves and UK businesses can gain some valuable insights as they brace for 2022.

·       They have had a taste of and ongoing appetite for work-hour flexibility

·       They are burned out, as those that are left behind take up the slack

·       They feel disconnected from company culture

·       They are struggling to understand their career path and feeling a lack of direction

·       They want to spend their time doing meaningful work

What can businesses do to stem the flow of talent?

Many businesses are struggling to address the issues that the pandemic has thrown up and may continue to do so if they don’t take the time to understand and interrogate the reasons why employees are contemplating leaving, instead of turning to ‘quick fixes’ such as financial perks, or ‘thank you’ bonuses. These tokens of appreciation are not quite hitting the mark, highlighting the need for business to address the wider issues or find themselves in a potential talent war.

Research from the States shows that 36 per cent of those that resigned in the past six months did so without having a new role lined up and another survey discovered that only 16 per cent of UK workers described themselves as worried about trying to get a new job. These are further indicators that employers may be out of touch with just how hard the past 18 months have been for their employees.

If business leaders fail to make appropriate adjustments, very soon the Winter of Discontent may well turn into the Great Resignation and the forecast talent war may even become a talent apocalypse in some sectors.

As a HR manager or hiring manager, talent director or business leader, now is the time to mitigate the devastating effects of any imminent talent war with a deep dive into employee satisfaction and a review of organisation culture and leadership practices.

Skills gap in a shrinking labour market

Unemployment levels in UK fell to 4.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2021, as people moved back to work post-pandemic. Job to job moves also reached a record high as the end of the furlough scheme coincided with a strong period of demand in the labour market. However, workforce participation has fallen by 1.2 per cent since the start of the pandemic, resulting in shrinking skilled workforce.

The imbalance of post pandemic supply and demand has led to the highest number of job vacancies in the UK in 20 years, leaving more than 8 in 10 business leaders concerned about losing talent from their business and 77 per cent of organisations already reporting talent shortages.

How can Wade Macdonald help?

If you are a mid-level professional looking for career progression in Accountancy & Finance or HR, or a hiring manager looking to secure professional talent for 2022, call us to find out how we can help you.


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