Is the Great Resignation Happening in Australia?

The Great Resignation. It almost does feel as though it should be capitalised in that way, so much has it become a rather grand-sounding phrase. But the idea behind the term “the great resignation” isn’t necessarily one of grandeur.

The phrase itself was coined over in the United States of America, following a huge number of individuals choosing to leave their job in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The country saw some incredible stats, including there being 83 unemployed workers for every 100 job openings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Almost 35 million Americans quit their job in 2020.

But is it happening in Australia too?

The answer quite resoundingly seems to be – maybe. According to stats from LinkedIn, the number of Australian workers moving over to a new company in October 2020 was no less than 26% higher than the previous year.

But what is it that causes a “great resignation”, as it were? Why has the pandemic seemingly prompted so many Australians to look for something new? Was it inevitable, or has the pandemic disrupted our modern workplace even more so than we initially thought? There are a few potential reasons coming to light, including:

New priorities

20% of workers in Australia said they’d consider resigning, if they already hadn’t, if not offered flexibility in their role. The advent of working from home changed everything. While we understand that remote work comes with its own set of challenges, for many the freedom which came with it has become not just a perk, but an expectation – prompting many to up sticks once they realised going back to “normal” (i.e. commuting to an office or central location each day) was returning.

The priority for many has become to maintain at least some of the often improved work-life balance working from home offers. It’s also opened up a world of opportunity – on the flip side, with many businesses across the globe now seeing no geographical boundaries to their talent search. This flexibility has become a new priority – so, if a business is unable to offer that, resignations are bound to happen.

The scales of supply vs demand sliding

To be frank? There are a ton of jobs out there, and seemingly not enough people to fill them. This puts the jobseeker in an interesting position; one where bargaining and negotiation become a real possibility.

While wages have increased 2-3% across many industries and professions, there’s still a gap to bridge between what many jobseekers in this climate see their financial worth as versus, what a business is able or willing to pay for that person. Reading the market is difficult with the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, so it could be that many resignations are coming in the quest of individuals to fulfil their financial potential (whether real or perceived).

For the opportunity to progress

Ultimately, the pandemic has left many more motivated than ever – to make the most of each day, drive toward goals, and appreciate the opportunities around them. This means a new zest for challenge, leading many to search out that step up in their career and responsibilities a little sooner than expected.

The pandemic has taught us Aussies not to take a single day for granted – so that renewed motivation? We’re all about it.

So, is the great resignation upon us here in Oz? Perhaps, but likely not on the same scale of America’s. That being said, 48% of Australians interviewed in a study September this year said they were planning to look for a new job within the next six months. To put it lightly, that’s a lot of resignations made.

There aren’t words to describe the disruption the job marketplace has seen over the past 12 months – but we’re excited to continue adding our value in this small corner of the world, at least.

To talk 2022 recruitment and retention strategies, get in touch today.

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