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Why the Great Resignation isn’t over yet

Why the Great Resignation isn’t over yet

With employees feeling burned out and uncertainty around the job market in general, nearly half of all workers in a recent survey indicated they're actively looking for a new job for the new year.

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One in four employees don’t feel secure in their current positions and almost half  of them plan to explore new job options in 2023, according to a new report that indicates  the Great Resignation remains in full swing.

The report, by human resource management software provider Isolved, says the top way employers can improve company culture and retain their workers is by paying their employees market value.

“This comes as no surprise, considering pay transparency laws have jumped to the forefront, and the pressure is on employers to eliminate pay inequality within their organisations,” Isolved said in its report.

“Data shows employees are more anxious, burnt-out and financial security-driven than ever," James Norwood, Isolved’s chief strategy officer, said in a statement. "To combat these concerns, HR departments of all sizes must evaluate what they can automate and gain efficiencies in, enhance what they can to improve employee experience, and extend the impact of their team."

The Isolved research dovetails with a second report by online job site Hired. It found that attracting, hiring, and retaining top talent has proven to be challenging — especially in the last six months of 2022 as volatile market conditions brought sizeable changes to the hiring landscape.

According to Hired, inefficient hiring processes rife with disjointed steps and redundancies have plagues companies for years, exacerbating hiring problems by undermining recruitment pipelines and causing candidate attrition. And as more companies slow or pause their hiring, broken processes could allow top talent to be overlooked.

Hired also cited employee burnout as a key challenge, placing the blame on rapid changes in the employment environment and angst over mass layoffs and hiring freezes.

In November, nearly a dozen big-name companies announced layoffs — with Amazon, Meta, Cisco and HP announcing cuts affecting thousands of workers. Experts believe the layoffs, which have been ongoing for the past three months, are mainly due to poor hiring strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of those being laid off now were hired by panicked managers worried about a dearth of talent caused by the Great Resignation and increased digitisation efforts.

Hired CEO Josh Brenner said his company’s data shows the market for tech talent is still incredibly strong for companies who are actively growing and hiring. “What’s key is that these companies remain committed to equitable, efficient and transparent hiring practices in this ever-changing macro environment,” he said.

Unemployment in the tech industry is near an all-time low; last month, it decreased from 2.2 per cent in October to two per cent, according to CompTIA, a nonprofit association for the IT industry and workforce.

“The hotter-than-anticipated tech jobs report confirms there are still many more employers hiring tech talent than shedding it,” said Tim Herbert, CompTIA’s chief research officer. “It’s certainly premature to dismiss concerns over the health of the economy, but this should be a reassuring sign for the tech workforce.”

This is the third annual Isolved survey looking at worker concerns and attitudes. In last year’s study, almost half of employees (47 per cent) said they were tempted to apply for a new job in 2022, roughly the same as in 2021 (52 per cent).

“One logical reason for the persistence of The Great Resignation is that employees don’t feel financially and emotionally supported at work,” Isolved said.

Of the 37 per cent of respondents who did actually apply for a new position last year, 60 per cent went on to change jobs, Isolved said. The number one reason: 62 per cent wanted a higher salary; 32 per cent were seeking better benefits (32 per cent); and 25 per cent wanted more work flexibility.

One possible reason for continued high turnover is that employees don’t feel supported to rise through the ranks of their organisation. According to Isolved, 21 per cent feel there isn’t room for growth within their company and 59 per cent feel their employers could do more to advance their careers.

“Employers are recognising that the best way to get the most from employees is to invest in the development of their skills," Isolved said. "While 46 per cent of employees say their employer offers opportunities for up-skilling — expanding upon their current skillset — there is room for improvement."

The attraction of remote work

About seven in 10 employees (68 per cent) who can work remotely say they hope to work from home more often than they did pre-pandemic, according to a Future Of Work Survey performed by Forrester Research earlier this year.

Even so, some firms, including big-name companies such as Goldman Sachs, are forcing a return to the office. Those kinds of moves could lead to conflict.

“In 2023, we predict acute confrontations within companies that don’t listen to and collaborate with employees in shaping hybrid-work policies,” Forrester said. “Adherence to in-office policies is already sketchy at best, and the threat of attrition looms large.”

As economic uncertainty from a possible future recession enters the “anywhere-work” calculus, Forrester is expects 40 per cent of hybrid-working companies will try to undo their remote work policies — essentially telling employees to come into the office more frequently.

“Don’t be one of the 50 per cent of companies that will battle their employees and suffer a loss of productivity due to labor unrest,” Forrester warned in its report.

Remote hiring, including finding workers outside of traditional tech hubs, widened the talent funnel for companies and bolstered their ability to source and quickly extend offers to job-seekers before competitors; that was especially true in previously saturated markets.


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