In July 2021, the US’ Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that more than 4 million workers had quit. This trend, now dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’, has not slowed down since then.
A record 4.5 million American workers resigned in November – the highest on record since BLS started reporting in 2000.
In December, the US saw 4.3 million quits, meaning the quit rate has dropped slightly from 3% to 2.9%. This brings December’s quit rate the same September 2021, but slightly above the dip in October to 2.8%.
However, the BLS’ data also showed that the number of job openings grew to 10.9 million, which was above analyst expectations.
In addition, hires remained above resignations in December. But they did dip slightly to 6.3 million, down from around 6.5 million each month from August to November, but they were still 800,000 higher than in December 2020.
The Economic Policy Institute senior economist Elise Gould tweeted:
While hires and quits both fell with the rise in Omicron in Dec, the hires rate remains higher than the quits rate in every major industry. This indicates that when workers quit, they are taking other jobs-likely in the same sector-not dropping out of the labor force altogether. pic.twitter.com/BktD2leflN
— Elise Gould (@eliselgould) February 1, 2022
All of this data suggests that ‘Great Resignation’ is more than a fad, and that it represents a shift in the power dynamic between employers and workers.
So, this begs the question what must employers do to ensure they are winning the war for talent?
How to thrive in the ‘Great Resignation’
WTW’s research suggests that to not only survive, but thrive, companies need to rethink their approaches to hiring.
Examples include being inventive about sources of talent, rethinking skills required to get the job done and upskilling workers in multiple skills so they can do multiple different types of jobs.
This attitude towards job redesign also requires listening to employee preferences on remote work and HR tech.
WTW’s survey of 1,650 employers found that there had been significant change over the past three years on flexible at work (74%), technology strategy (66%) and organizational agility (56%).
WTW also recommended employers rethink rewards and compensation, particularly around wellbeing and career development.
“Whether you view it as the ‘Great Resignation’, ‘Reshuffle’ or ‘Reprioritization’, organizations can take tangible actions to win the talent race. These include identifying new sources of talent, optimizing job design, resetting their total rewards strategy and delivering a more robust career experience for employees,” concluded Catherine Hartmann, WTW managing director of work and rewards.
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