• Carrie Free

The Great Resignation Leads to Great Adaptation



Employers have always been challenged to attract and retain valuable talent for their organizations. After a worldwide pandemic, what was already a challenge became a nearly insurmountable task. In 2021, workers across the nation from a variety of industries began to fade from the workplace in what has been dubbed “the Great Resignation.” The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported close to 4 million American workers quit their jobs in July 2021. This resignation trend peaked in April 2021 and remained high throughout the year, with a record-breaking 10.9 million job openings at the end of July 2021.1 And, according to CNBC, 4.5 million workers turned in their resignations in November 2021, while the number of available jobs, however, dropped to 10.6 million.2

As the country rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic, people have chosen to leave their jobs at a time when employers are scrambling to recruit from a pool of talent with higher expectations. Many professionals are looking for better options for their careers, with a higher number seeking remote opportunities after much of the nation’s workforce was forced to work from home during the lockdowns in 2020. And now, with the cost of living increasing due in part to a higher consumer price index, some are undoubtedly seeking higher wages and better benefits. One thing is clear, the Great Resignation has spurred employers to adapt their retention practices.

To even begin to tackle this issue, employers must examine the reasons employees have given for resigning. Many baby boomers chose to retire as the burnout from the pandemic caught up with them. Many who lost their jobs or were laid off from their positions during the pandemic decided to pursue a new career path, branched into freelance work, or created their own entrepreneurial opportunities. For some, the allure of working from home is stronger than a busy commute and an office window. Primary-care-giving parents have faced the dilemma of returning to the workforce as unpredictable child care and school closures have made working a steady job outside the home extremely challenging.

As the pandemic approaches a more manageable level, the workforce should stabilize, but it’s not likely new retirees or budding entrepreneurs will give up their endeavors to return to the jobs they left behind. Employers will need to determine whether they are willing to offer higher wages, paid tuition, work-from-home options, flex days, in-house child care, or other benefits to attract and retain good talent. While the Great Resignation will surely soon level out and fade into our history books—because those who wanted to leave their jobs have probably already left in pursuit of new opportunities—the way in which employers attract and retain reliable, qualified talent may be impacted well into the future.

If your organization is struggling with employee retention, recruitment, or talent management, or needs assistance in human resources administration, HR1 Consulting LLC can help. Contact our experts today to learn more!


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