There’s been much written about this statement and mixed views on whether it is a real ‘movement’ or just a statement of words to get us thinking.

It’s been reported that the Great Resignation hit the USA hard during 2021 and although Australia hasn’t felt the impact like our overseas friend, we will indeed feel the movement hit around March/April this year.  

There are certainly lots of opinions in the media and feedback from business sites, with some reports suggesting anywhere between 30-40% of the workforce will be moving jobs over the next 12 months. Interestingly and quite conservative as you would expect, the ABS (Australia Bureau of Statistics) predicts about 5% of the workforce or 600,000 Australians will move jobs.

Whatever the percentage or number, there is definitely a feeling of change coming for employers, employees, and the workforce. But why now? Covid? Pandemic? Lockdowns? Or just plain sick of your job? 

Four standout explanations are:

1. Mandatory work-from-home during the pandemic really did open the eyes of employees. For many, not commuting to work was a big factor, coupled with working from your home office and Zooming into meetings; this certainly took away outside pressures that we all thought we loved but indeed most of us did not miss. In fact, one of the biggest changes to come from the pandemic for employees now is a ‘hybrid’ workplace situation with a mix of home and office work. The best of both worlds!

2. During the pandemic, especially the last two years, many employees were and are burnt out. Being on the tireless ‘hamster wheel’ of working long hours and the mental stress of Covid, has taken its toll. Employees are now voting with ‘their feet’ and leaving those stressful jobs and employment situations, citing ‘enough’!

3. Living through the pandemic has affected how people feel about life, their family, and the balance they have. There has been a big push around the world for a 4-day working week. Although some countries have embraced this, many countries like Australia have placed it in the ‘not sure’ pile of things to do. But that’s OK, as employees are working out what’s right for them with the top priority being ‘balance’. But what does that balance look like?

4. At the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, we saw so many job losses and an increase in unemployment. But the unemployment rate quickly dropped and in 2021 jobs stabilised and then started to increase. Who would have thought by the end of 2021/start of 2022 it was now an employees market with a great abundance of jobs on offer and not enough people to fill them. In fact, 9News reported on 20 January that now is the lowest unemployment rate Australia has experienced since August 2008; just before the start of the Global Financial Crisis.

If you were thinking the Great Resignation sounds like something you would like to be part of, I’d consider two things – 

  1. Firstly, ask yourself can I change something in my current role that would make me happier and more content? Should I up-skill for a promotion; find a mentor to help me get to the next level; or is it the relationship with my boss, and  a Managing-Up Course could help?
  2. Secondly, if you decide to quit – prepare yourself the best you can! Do a skills-gap analysis to find the area(s) you need to up-skill in; get networking in the industry; update your professional LinkedIn profile; and find a mentor that can help guide you.
    (Lots of resources to help are listed below …)

Whatever you decide, if the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that life is short and to be happy in our personal and professional lives is paramount. Make 2022 work best for you!

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