The ‘Great Resignation’ is not letting up.
The US has seen the ninth month in the row of more than four million resignations. The peak came in November 2021 when a record 4.5 million US workers quit their jobs; the quit rate was 3%.
After 4.2 million quit in January, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has announced that 4.3 million US workers resigned in February – this brings the quit rate to 2.9%. Increases in quits were seen in retail (74,000), manufacturing (22,000) and state education (14,000).
In good news, the number of job openings also remained little changed at 11.7 million (7% rate), with increases in education, arts and leisure and the federal government. Hires also increased by 263,000 to 6.7 million (a 4.4% rate) – the total hires for the past 12 months reached 77 million.
Lay offs were also flat at 1.3 million in February 2022; a slight decline on 1.4 million the month prior, but slightly higher on November and December 2021 figures.
Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed Hiring Lab, told Insider that previously workers would have “grinned and beared it at work, now they can say, oh, well, there’s opportunities out out there right now.
“The high level of quits is really a sign of workers’ confidence.
“At the same time, we’re seeing really low layoffs, which is a sign of the security that many workers have right now.”
The Economic Policy Institute senior economist Elise Gould tweeted:
The great reshuffling continues in February as workers quit their jobs in search of better opportunities. Hiring outpaces quits in every major sector. pic.twitter.com/GqI589v0vk
— Elise Gould (@eliselgould) March 29, 2022
How to win the war for talent
The statistics are showing that the US job market remains volatile, and employees have the power. Companies are still figuring out how to attract workers, and how to avoid losing their existing talent.
The key is providing flexible working options. 41% of US and UK workers told Topia that a lack of flexible options was pushing them to change jobs. Flexible working was ranked at number three – after higher pay and more employee wellbeing.
Microsoft’s 2022 Work Survey’s results were similar. 38% of 31,000 global workers were considering leaving their current role because of a lack of remote options; in addition, 80% believed they were just as productive working from home as in the office.
But it is often hard to know what types of models to implement – the solution is listening to your employees. Companies must not assume that they know what their workers want – ask them if they want to go back to the office, ask them if they want set days or the freedom to choose their working patterns.
Another major cause of the ‘Great Resignation’ is a lack of career development opportunities. Workers want to work at companies that value them and is prepared to invest in their future careers. This is particularly the case for Gen Z, according to the Microsoft survey.
The only way to stop the ‘Great Resignation’ in its tracks is for companies to rethink their attraction and retention strategies – and focus more on career development and remote working. Are HR teams ready?