The Great Resignation is Coming to Australia

40% of the Australia's Working Population to Change Company, Career or Go Freelance Over the Next Few Months.

You may have read the recent article by Forbes talking about the Great Resignation, where employees in the United States are fleeing the ship to pursue opportunities with other companies, taking the leap by going freelance or changing careers entirely now that they are coming out of lockdown.

Over 3.5 million US employees have been quitting their job month on month since January with resignations peaking in July at just shy of 4 million. The chart below was recently shared by Nick Bunker, an economist at Glassdoor who wrote on Twitter that openings had reached pre-pandemic levels across all major industry sectors.

The graph below shows the industries that are most affected in the US.

What’s Causing this Exodus?

Lockdown was (or still is depending on where you are in Australia) many things for people. It was a time of great struggle with 1 in 5 Australians reporting high levels of psychological distress and more fortunate people were able to get through lockdown fairly unscathed, perhaps picking up a few new hobbies along the way.

But for many, lockdown was a period of reflection and a time to evaluate career choices and consider a different path. This has resulted in many people deciding to change things up and make the move – once out of lockdown of course.

Why are People Leaving?

Looking at the data surrounding the Great Resignation in the US, the stats are fairly clear on the reasons employees are moving on and what they are looking for from their new employer.

38% would leave their job due to a lack of growth and 26% are leaving due to a lack of training and development opportunities. 56% want employers to offer more career development opportunities in 2022.

An it’s not just the currently employed. 90% of new talent also said when searching for a new job that it’s very important a company offers a strong training and upskilling program. This was even higher for tech-specific workers, where 97% of these employees echoed this notion.

Remote work is still in demand, it is not in the top three demands for workers in 2022. 35% of respondents said they want remote work options from their existing employers (tech workers were lower with 20%). This trailed other areas like health and wellness (61%), training and development (56%) and CSR efforts like diversity and sustainability. This could potentially be partly contributed to the fact that remote work still has its fair of challenges. 38% (and 60% of tech respondents) claimed they need better support from their employer with remote solutions, including reliable connectivity. 33% worry they’ll have fewer opportunities for training and reskilling, or that they’ll disappear completely with the rise remote work. Check out this report by amdocs for further info.

When is it Hitting Australia?

Our research has shown that Australia will most likely see similar month-on-month exoduses to the US. Predictions state that with lockdowns ending and vaccine targets being reached, Australia will likely be really feeling the effects at the beginning of 2022 and continue throughout the year.

However, many would argue that the phenomenon has already begun with 1 in 4 (25%) Australians job hunting according to a Gartner survey of more than 1,500 Australians. Hays’ 2021 salary guide puts this number even higher, with nearly 40% of Australians seeking a different job this financial year.

In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, Hays Australia managing director Nick Deligiannis stated; “There are signs that there could be a ‘Great Resignation’ in Australia soon, too. The pandemic has been a rude intrusion to many Australians’ career plans. They have put their career plans on hold to help their organisation through the crisis and recover. Now, they are focused on their career again and are prioritising advancement. But while career progression is valued, just 16% of employees expect to receive a promotion in the next 12 months.”

The reason for this shift is not just down to employees evaluating what they want from their career. The reasons behind this shift includes lack of promotion opportunities, followed by non-competitive salaries, and poor management style or even toxic workplace cultures. Our recent Employee Engagement Guide covers a number of these topics and how to manage them.

Many employees simply do not like how they have been treated by their employers during the pandemic. Whether this is the lack of support, building work pressures while tackling home schooling or that their employer failed to provide any career opportunities during lockdown.

What can you do to prepare?

One thing for sure is that the Great Resignation is coming our way. We can’t prevent it, but we can prepare and perhaps slow down the effects within our businesses.

Employee Engagement & Retention

In our recent Employee Engagement Guide, we breakdown the Employee Engagement drivers and understand what an employee is looking for and what an organisation should provide employees.

It’s important when we define employee engagement that we understand the drivers that make up an engaged employee and an employer that is ready to attract and retain engaged employees.

The drivers below have been split into Employee and Employer alignment.  The Employee drivers show what employees are looking for and the Employer drivers demonstrate what an employer should provide the employee. Culture sits in the middle, as all these drivers contribute to creating a positive culture.

Employee engagement drivers

Ensure you cover each of these to ensure you whether the Great Resignation, while attracting top talent. Download the eBook that this model appears in to learn more. 

Candidate Experience

With the Great Resignation creating so many vacancies and with so much talent available, your business may never be more exposed to so many candidates at once again. Now is the time to ensure your Candidate Experience (CX) is up to scratch.

This article from Workable shares some simple tips for improving candidate experience that you can implement now to ensure you put your best foot forward. These are:

  • Make sure you’re hiring to fill a real need
  • Write clear job descriptions
  • Make it easy for candidates to apply to your jobs
  • Follow-up early and often
  • Communicate with (and thank) candidates during each step of the hiring process
  • Give candidates information about what to expect at in-person interviews
  • Give candidates your full attention at interviews
  • Tell candidates if you’re no longer considering them, as soon as you can
  • If you want to keep certain candidates in mind for future openings, keep track of them
  • Be open to giving (and receiving) feedback

Our recent eBook; Discover How to Keep Candidates Happy and Engaged provides more insight into the tools and tactics you can use to boost candidate experience and attract the best talent.

In addition, for the candidates whose resumes you would like to keep on file for future opportunities, check out Livehire. There is no better way to provide a positive candidate experience to those candidates you wish to reengage with later than by following up on that promise and contacting them regarding upcoming roles.

Career Progression, Learning Opportunities and Upskilling will be Key

We mentioned this in our Engagement drivers but in this instance these 2 factors will make or break most employees’ decision to stay or go. It is crucial that you understand what your employees have been deliberating on during lockdown. Perhaps book a catch-up session, sort of like a lockdown debrief, to understand how their career goals have changed.

At the same time, it is important to give your staff freedom once back at work to make the right decision for them. Find out what they need, do your best to accommodate those needs and then let them make their decision.

Embrace the Hybrid Model

More than half of Australian working professionals would take a pay cut if it meant they could work from home 100% of the time. Many others simply want the option to work from home when they choose or on agreed days per week.

Our research has found that most employees prefer to work from home and 78% stated in a recent Capterra survey that they are more productive working from home. This is compounded in a survey conducted by Hays, that looked at 2500 working professionals and uncovered that 61% believed hybrid working was the most productive model.

On a recent edition of the HR Exchange podcast, former VP of Talent at LinkedIn Steve Cadigan noted that people are so used to working from home and having dinner with family every night that it is just going to be too difficult to go back to sitting in traffic to go into the office every day.

In addition, our customers tell us that candidates are requesting a hybrid model as part of their package, so if you aren’t willing to adopt it then you will lose talent to other companies that do.

In Summary 

The Great Resignation will not be all bad. A high volume of resignations means larger pools of talent will become available. It will be crucial that you have systems in place that attract the right people and provide the best Candidate Experience, so it will pay to be ready for the increased volume of candidates.

The great resignation is a great opportunity for organisations to get up to scratch with the market and launch streamlined processes that add great talent to your pipeline.

Contact us to learn more about the impact of the Great Resignation and how we can help you prepare.


Related Blogs

Optimising your Recruitment Process for the Respect at Work Act


Predicting Employee Safety: A Science-Backed Approach


Pre-Employment Assessments: Definitions and Purpose


Utilising Data To Develop Employees


Legal Risks Associated with Hiring and How Testing Can Help?


Contact us to learn more

We're always happy to have an informal chat and share our insights on how to improve your recruitment, employee development and engagement.