As millions of US workers quit their jobs recently, the phenomenon known as ‘the great resignation’ reared its head. Can we prevent it coming to Ireland?
Millions of US workers are resigning in droves from their jobs in a phenomenon that’s being referred to by numerous think pieces as ‘the great resignation.’
Lots has been written on the issue already, as companies are (quite rightly) concerned about the trend. Major US outlets such as Forbes, Fast Company, NPR and CNBC have all covered the great resignation. Numerous studies – as well as feedback from workers themselves – indicates that this phenomenon is not going to disappear.
The pandemic has provided much needed space for many workers to evaluate their life choices, and what people want from their careers is unsurprisingly a major part of this reckoning.
According to the US Department of Labor, 3.6m people quit their jobs in May, down from 4m in April.
And research by Microsoft indicates that 40pc of people are planning to leave their employers this year.
Jobseekers resource ResumeLab also conducted a study of US workers in a bid to determine what is causing this mass ‘career crisis,’ and the results are an interesting read for Irish companies looking to avoid what’s happening to their counterparts abroad.
ResumeLab asked 1,038 US workers questions pertaining to their jobs and how they felt about their working lives.
A whopping 59pc said they were thinking of changing jobs.
Interestingly, the majority of respondents (86pc) said they liked their jobs, which might seem like a very positive statistic at first. However, when compared against the job satisfaction results for other countries, the results don’t look so wonderful.
For instance, 93pc of Canadians are happy in their careers and 11pc of Britons said they loved their job so much they would do it for free.
Suddenly 14pc of US workers disliking their jobs is a large number.
Ireland does not fare too well either – a 2020 study by professional services firm Aon found that 63pc of Irish workers felt disengaged by their work. 1 in 3 mid-career workers said they planned on changing career in the next year.
Irish people’s job satisfaction lags far behind the EU average of 60pc at 34pc. Older generations are more likely to be happier at work, with things getting less positive for younger Irish people.
Aon’s age-related findings correspond somewhat with ResumeLab’s results. The latter group’s study found that 77pc of Gen Z workers felt jealous and insecure at work compared to just 59pc of people in the aged-55-and-over cohort.
As for the reasons behind the career crisis: 37pc said they were concerned about job insecurity, while nearly a third cited personal conflicts at work and 30pc said they were bored at work.
No development options, low pay and poor working conditions also factored into dissatisfaction rates.
There are some positive lessons to be learned from the fallout of the great resignation, and hopefully these will be given consideration by workplaces before the phenomenon hits Ireland.
And, as ResumeLab’s findings show, career crises are par for the course in many workers’ lives, with 69pc of people admitting to having had a major career crisis at least once and 61pc saying they felt they had missed their professional calling.
Good leadership and talking a problem through can help people going through crises in their careers, according to respondents. 73pc believe a good manager can help employees avoid or lessen the severity of a career crisis.
Leadership, communication and mutual understanding are key to ensuring that employees and employers can maintain a good working relationship through the rest of the pandemic and beyond.