What is the Great Resignation?

What is the Great Resignation?

What is the Great Resignation?

The Great Resignation, also known as the Big Quit or the Great Attrition, is the ongoing trend of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs in large numbers, from spring of 2021 to the present. The phenomenon was initially observed in the United States but is now being noticed and seen in countries spread out all over the world. The resignations have been characterised in the US as in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American government refusing to provide necessary worker protection, and wage stagnation despite rising costs of living.

The term Great Resignation was most likely coined by Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at Mays Business School of Texas A&M University, who predicted that this mass exodus was coming in May 2021 as a call to remap priorities in the work-life equation.

Numbers Affected

Beginning with the US, the data maintained by the US Labour Department shows that more than 34 million American workers have quit their jobs this year, but the phenomenon seems to have picked up speed in the month of April- around the time the economy began to properly open up and more than 24 million job exits have come since that month with the pace of the resignations actually increasing.

But, as mentioned before, the US is not the only country that is currently witnessing this problem.

A survey of 5,000 people in Belgium, France, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands by HR company SD Worx found that employees in Germany had the most COVID-19-related resignations, with 6.0% of the workers leaving their jobs and more than a third of the companies saying that they have staff shortages in July. This was followed by the United Kingdom with 4.7%, the Netherlands with 2.9%, France with 2.3% and lastly Belgium with the least number of resignations at 1.9%.

Similar trends have been reported in other countries like Canada and Italy as well.

But while the US jobs turnovers stand out, the impact of the Great Resignation is expected to be worldwide. Software major Microsoft in March this year shared the results of a survey that said that 41 per cent of “the global workforce is likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year, with 46 per cent planning to make a major pivot or career transition” which brings to light how the already high numbers might yet increase.


Sectors Affected


Business in the hospitality and retail sector have seen the highest quit rates in the US with most of these jobs involving people working in close proximity with others, recent reports said.

A study earlier, published in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), had found that the healthcare and tech sectors had seen an uptick over the previous year in the number of employees that had quit. It also said that “resignation rates were higher among employees who worked in fields that had experienced extreme increases in demand due to the pandemic, likely leading to increased workloads and burnout”.

Thus, while some industries are facing people quitting due to health and money restraints, others are facing resignations due to the employees facing increased workload and getting better opportunities elsewhere with the tech, retail, healthcare and such industries facing the larger amount of resignation than others.

Why exactly are the people quitting?

One major reason for people quitting even as the economies are opening up, is the restraint that they had been facing for the past one and a half years. Due to massive layoffs and pay cuts people really needed jobs during the pandemic and even the people that wanted to change their jobs or were dissatisfied with their jobs could not switch jobs at all. Now that a lot of job opportunities are opening up, these people are finally quitting their old jobs in large numbers to move on to better opportunities.

Another category of people quitting without other jobs is made up of those like mothers unable to find or afford child care or people who are not comfortable returning just yet to jobs that involve working in close physical spaces with others.

Then there are those that have funds to fall back on and are using this time to reassess their life and career choices and those who would prefer a hybrid model if working with more flexibility going forward.

Additionally, there might be a positive side to all of this as well. As the economies are opening up again, more companies are looking at hiring in large numbers and thus people working in a lot of industries are just getting better offers to move which might be another reason why people are quitting on their old jobs, especially in sectors like IT where the demand is at an all-time high and the pay hike available to people on switching jobs are massive.


Indian job space scenario

Employees Quitting in India has not yet reached very large proportions, but experts point out that the other variables of the employee market are also not comparable to other markets of the more developed countries.


Informal sector occupations took a weighty beating during the pandemic in India and a great many labourers are assessed to have passed on work in the urban areas to go to their homes in the hinterland. As much as 80% of informal workers lost their jobs during the lockdown, a report said.

Yet, the nation is likewise tipped to consider a hearty position recuperation in the future as the economy comes back to life. Reports highlight generously higher employment opportunities when contrasted with a similar period last year. The tech area, particularly, is seeing rushed development as organisations extend recruiting to as 80 build capacities. That additionally implies that quit rates are riding high.

Gauges by the recruiting firm Team Lease propose that the IT business will have a high steady attrition rate of around 22-23 percent in 2021 with more than 1 million resignations anticipated.

How to counteract this?

Forty percent of the employees in a survey conducted by McKinsey have said they are at least somewhat likely to quit in the next three to six months which shows that the problem of high resignations is here and it’s here to stay.

Thus, the employers should not be treating the problem lightly and should start taking measures to ensure the retention of needed people in their organisations so that the great resignation can be slowed down and then can eventually be brought to a standstill.

The companies from countries and sectors that are affected in a larger manner due to the Great Resignation have a number of different solutions that they can try out in order to retain their workers:

  1. See how workers’ necessities, needs and assumptions have changed.


Organisations are progressively mentioning, and sometimes expecting, representatives to get back to the work environment. Nonetheless, businesses should comprehend that representatives’ lives have changed significantly since the beginning of COVID; With these progressions have come new requirements, needs and assumptions; subsequently, it should be normal for heads to talk with every worker to get what these new needs and necessities are and do whatever is feasible to oblige them. These facilities in mix with showing that your organisation cares about the daily life of the workers is vital to countering the impacts of the Great Resignation.


  1. Address burnout.

The first step to overcoming burnout is to establish a steady climate. Seriously investigate your way of life — is it one where representatives feel respected and really focused on? One where they feel open to requesting help? One method of showing empathy is through your actions. Consider positive notes of acknowledgment and consolation that comes straightforward from team members. Routinely ask representatives how they’re doing and about their responsibility so you can make changes and deal extra help on a case-by-case basis.


  1. Help working environment prosperity.


While giving freedom to workers to get dynamic, such as offering virtual or in-person wellness classes, is incredible, comprehend that representative prosperity envelops significantly more than actual wellbeing. It’s likewise mental prosperity, having a sense of safety, having solid, strong connections and having a feeling of direction. Attempt to plan virtual or in person espresso meet-ups and group building exercises to assist with advancing availability. Self-awareness can be an extraordinary method for helping prosperity, as well.

Help workers remember your organisation’s vision and mission and how every individual adds to its prosperity.


  1. Upgrade the worker experience.


Outside of remuneration and advantages, a positive worker experience is fundamental to holding talent. By further developing the worker experience, you are additionally expanding the degree of representative commitment in the working environment. High worker commitment has an immediate connection with expanded efficiency and productivity, and a lower level of representative turnover.

Some little bits of this part are building and social opportunities, minimal politics and gossip, fun and enjoyable events, ergonomically sound workstations, access to healthy food, and good aesthetics such as natural light, plants and art.


  1. Support and award representatives who have decided to remain.


The Great Resignation is influencing your leftover workers as much as it is your business. At the point when resignations become high, it’s an immense hit to the spirit, so keeping workers who have remained turns out to be progressively troublesome. They’ve lost companions and colleagues they depended on. More obligations are possibly being requested from them. They might feel lost as well. Focus resources around these representatives to urge them to stay.


Thus, in conclusion we can say that the problem of great resignation has been caused by a multitude of factors and has affected a number of countries and industries in entirely different manners but at the same time, it is a problem that might stay longer and thus, the employers should prepare themselves so that they can retain their talent and make it out of this crisis with no major losses.






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