The Great Resignation: Employees Continue to have the Upper Hand
By Yehudit Garmaise
Many businesses are booming in the post-pandemic economy, but they are having to fight hard to keep employees, as millions quit their jobs in the 2021 "Great Resignation" and the widespread availability of remote work for most jobs remains highly accessible.
In 2021, 47 million Americans quit their jobs, and resignation rates remain high in 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and experts say that employees, who are no longer rooted in offices, are more likely to switch jobs more often.
“Throughout the pandemic, we've seen remote work go from the margins into the mainstream," Desmond Dickerson, the director of Future of Work Marketing at Microsoft told abcnews.
“Leaving jobs previously [before the pandemic], meant uprooting,” said Dickerson. “But now all that needs to happen is that you toss one laptop to the side and then bring in a new one. So that barrier to entry for transitioning to jobs has changed.”
Business leaders can retain workers, experts say, by continuing to allow remote work and flexible work schedules, which, throughout the pandemic, most workers proved can be just as productive as in-person employment.
”We're in a bit of a golden age of business experimentation,” said Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of business at Texas A&M. “The exciting thing is that the nine-to-five work week is not going to be replaced by some other single type of work arrangement. What it's being replaced by is an almost infinite number of work arrangements.”
Frontline workers, who continued to work in person throughout the pandemic in grocery stores, restaurants, and hospitals, previously had less job flexibility and pay increases than other workers, but Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University, said that the job market has shifted, and frontline workers, who are now more valued, are gaining the upper hand, as well.
“For the first time, maybe in decades, [historically low-earners] can say, ‘Look, I can quit my job easily, find another job and get a pay increase at the same time,” said Bloom. “And in fact, that's why they're quitting. People aren't quitting, mainly because they're dissatisfied with their current jobs, they're generally quitting to get other jobs.”