The job quitting phenomenon induced by the pandemic can be viewed in two ways–from employers point of view and from employees’ standpoint.
Employers call it The Great Resignation, employees refer to it as The Great Transitions. This shows that there is a disconnect between employees and employers, Joseph Andrews, global chairman of Dentons law firm.
In an article he wrote for Fast Company, Andrews explains that people of varying backgrounds, places and circumstances are looking for something different than what they have now. Those who are quitting are finding new jobs they perceive as more attractive. This Great Transition is a key attribute of a new dynamic, an environment shaped by constant and rapid change, where there will never be a new normal.
He says, not only are workers more valuable today, as indicated by rising wages, they are going to be even more valuable tomorrow. He projects that the labor shortage is likely to be long term.
Data supports this claim. According to a July 2021 forecast from the Congressional Budget Office, the American workforce will grow by just 4% during the entire 2020s. That is just half the growth rate of the 2000s (9.2%) and only one seventh of the growth rate during the 1970s (30.2%).
Workers are now taking more risks than ever before. And has set the stage for a bigger problem, fewer workers are joining the workforce at a time when the economy needs them most.
Andrews says that in order to keep and attract employees companies can look into adopting a cultural and financial solution.
According to Andrews, a recent multi-region McKinsey survey of managers and workers reveals that there is a significant disconnect between how management and employees currently view this new dynamic.
Managers perceive workers’ desire for more money, greater development opportunities, and remote work options, as well as competitor recruitment and pandemic health complications, all as more important factors to change jobs than workers do.
Workers say their departures are more influenced by whether they are valued by the organization, have a sense of purpose, work with caring and trusting colleagues, and can have a flexible schedule at work.
This disconnect is particularly acute in the tightest part of the labor market: younger employees starting their careers.
As workers realize they have agency, that they can act and they can make a difference, more of them will act—making it more likely that they will make a difference. In turn, this changes the direction of companies, professions, and governments all over the world. The transformation will not happen overnight; but because demographics are destiny and economic trends create political trends, it is inevitable.
Workers are sending the signal loud and clear. The smartest employers will tune out the noise and understand what the signal means.