The Great Resignation

Has the pandemic made you rethink your career or deeply question the role of work in your life? If so, you’re not alone. Experts are touting that Australia may follow America’s lead and will see an exodus of employees which is being dubbed ‘The Great Resignation.’ The Grattan Institute CEO Danielle Wood cites two recent surveys, by Microsoft and PwC, which showed 40 per cent and 38 per cent (respectively) of employees questioned expected to leave their jobs in the next year.

According to the Times, The Great Resignation is not a labour shortage so much as it is “a shortage of workers who are willing to accept the terms employers are used to offering them”. Post-lockdown, many workers are rethinking their relationship to their work. Businesses ranging from hospitality to high-end corporates are struggling to fill those same roles, with many workers thumbing their noses at job offers and instead opting to pursue new work-life balance aspirations.

So what’s driving this shift and how can it affect your employment opportunities in 2022?

Humans, not just workers: Some workers are moving because they might have decided life is too short to stay in a job they don’t like. The pandemic showed how workplaces could offer flexibility when they were forced by external events to do so, even though many may have resisted it before. Workers have had a taste of that flexibility and don’t want to go back. Australian businesses are now talking about coaxing workers back into the office for just a few days a week, at least to begin with.

 Downsizing your career: The Great Resignation is also being fuelled by fundamental shifts in how people think about the role of work in their lives. Many people are choosing to move away from ambition, to emphasise other aspects of life. They are embracing “career downsizing,” looking for a job involving fewer hours or something with less responsibility and less stress.

Quitting parts of your job: Questioning what you want out of work and life doesn’t have to mean quitting your job, it can be reconsidering how you do things and quitting certain aspects of it. This includes interstate and overseas travel, extended commutes, additional roles and responsibilities.

 Reconfigure work from today’s work: Where once it was standard to work nine to five, because that’s when the sun was up, we worked in offices, because chances are no-one had a computer in their house, let alone a fax machine or any of those things. Our roles should reflect how we live our lives now and need to be updated to reflect the world we live in today.

 Possible pay rise finally: A positive of this movement is that it may place upward pressure on wages, which have been stagnant in real terms for about six years.

If you do decide to quit, put yourself in the right position first. Learn as much as you can, meet people in the industry and update your skills and job application documents. Amid all the uncertainty of the pandemic there is an opportunity to reshape your career and navigate towards something that makes you feel more fulfilled. Make 2022 the year you land your dream job.


The Sydney Morning Herald: Jacqueline Maley

ABC News: By Lisa Leong with Monique Ross and Maria Tickle

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