The “Great Resignation”: How did this happen?

Today’s labor market is filled with uncertainty due to the highest amounts of people quitting their jobs since 2008. The phenomenon we are witnessing right now is termed The Great Resignation.

With a staggering total of  4 million Americans deciding to leave their jobs, employers are looking for new and creative ways to retain good, quality people. Job seekers are holding the ball right now and they are starting to hold companies accountable for how they treat employees. Job seekers want more than just “a job”; they want careers that come with a good work-life balance, a livable wage, and meaningful incentives.

This shift in the workforce has begun to turn into a vicious workplace cycle. When an employee quits or resigns that leaves other employees with twice the workload, leaving the employees that stayed with an extra layer of workplace stress. This leads to employees resigning due to exhaustion and burnout which then restarts the cycle.

People have reached a breaking point. They are no longer staying at jobs that don’t pay them well enough to meet basic livable means, don’t have enough adequate benefits, or make them feel valued. During the pandemic, workers were starting to look back at everything they did before coronavirus, asking themselves “Did I fulfill everything I wanted to?”, “Am I really happy where I am?”, “Have I been just settling all this time?”. This essentially made a lot of people “wake up” with a realization that they needed to start doing things that made them happy.

Some workers wanted a job that was more meaningful to them. Individuals who feel like what they do has a purpose are more likely to have a good work-life balance. That purpose relies heavily on the individual since what drives workers is tailored to the person. People want jobs that they feel are important and worthwhile to them. As long as the work has a positive impact and the worker’s values align with the “why” behind the work, the resignation will be far from the worker’s mind.

Another reason for the spike in resignations was that people were still scared of the coronavirus. Many workers who moved to remote during the shutdown didn’t want to go back into the office and risk the possibility of getting sick. The pandemic provided people with more time to think about their priorities when it comes to work and health was the biggest priority that was no longer going to be compromised for some workers. The thought of companies not taking the covid-19 threat or workers’ concerns seriously enough led people to quit.

No matter what the reason is, resignations are steadily climbing and companies need to adhere to workers’ demands to defeat this workforce plague.


2021-11-08T08:11:42-05:00November 8th, 2021|