Has The Great Resignation turned into The Great Regret?

Subhaan Malik our consultant managing the role

The “Great Resignation” promised career nirvana, but has this actually come to fruition for people? 

Several publications, from The Guardian to Forbes, report that around 20% of people who resigned from their jobs during the pandemic regret that decision. At the time, pundits and experts on LinkedIn were falling over themselves to explain why businesses were failing to retain their employees. Whilst businesses learnt a lot about employee engagement and retention during this period, there is still a long way to go, especially when you consider the severe candidate shortage we are currently experiencing. 

Business culture sets the tone 

Extensive research has been undertaken to understand why people left their jobs during the pandemic, and the findings are varied. For example, researchers at McKinsey found that employees wanted to feel valued by their employers and have meaningful interactions with their colleagues, not just functional transactions. Whereas research firm Gartner found that professionals were looking for greater flexibility and a more human-centric approach to work. 

However, one thing is clear: the pandemic highlighted the importance of business culture and the necessity to represent it accurately to prospective employees. A recent Harvard Business Review found that of those who moved roles during the pandemic, 30% had resigned within the first three months due to the mischaracterisation of the organisational culture. This sentiment is also supported by the job board, muse, which found that 72% of people who moved roles during the pandemic were disappointed in their new role and it was different from what they were led to believe.

Reacclimatising to work post-pandemic

People’s expectations around work are very different to what they were two years ago. They have adapted to a world where work/life balance takes precedence. No matter what, the pandemic has left a positive legacy, with flexible and home working becoming a commonplace. 

However, the great resignation left people wanting more: higher pay, increased flexibility and a more fulfilling role. But, this is at odds with employers’ requirements. We can see this through candidate behaviour, with 58% of people wanting to work at home full-time post-pandemic. Moreover, Forbes reports that even applicants searching for traditional client-facing roles are requesting to work from home full-time. The magazine explains that professionals believe work should fit around the lives they’ve carved out for themselves during the pandemic, but the fact is, that isn’t always possible.

Young people are feeling regret more sharply  

It is no surprise that Gen Z, people born after 1996, place enormous significance on workplace culture. And it will be even less surprising to discover that they are at the forefront of The Great Resignation and The Great Regret, with research finding that 65% of those under 25 in the workforce plan to leave their jobs this year. There are several nuanced reasons why, but the ultimate takeaway is that they will keep searching for a new role until they find one that lets them operate on their own terms

What does this mean for the future? 

Employers need to take a step back and reflect on the past two years. Many businesses went through dramatic transformation projects in a matter of weeks. This is no small feat and probably a distant memory for leaders. However, as people settle into the post-pandemic way of operating, you must optimise communication to effectively bring your people along with you.

Whatever the cause of the regret or disappointment many jobseekers are experiencing in the current market, honest, two-way communication can help prevent the crisis from further deepening.

Ultimately, employers must be transparent about their requirements, and employees need to be honest about their needs. Career nirvana will only be reached when both meet in the middle. But this will take time. As life resumes, the hope is that employees will find a better way of working that meets employers’ needs, while satisfying their desire for a healthier work-life balance and greater purpose. They adjusted during the pandemic, and they can do so again.

Our specialist consultants at Marks Sattin can find you the best finance and tech professionals

At Marks Sattin, we know that hiring the right people requires a methodical approach with a clear time-bound structure. Every aspect of our service - from sourcing and screening candidates to relationship building with clients and candidates - is approached with the utmost care and professionalism.

Our clients partner with us because they’re confident placing their trust in our process, and they continue these partnerships because we deliver the best candidates. No matter the level of candidate you’re searching for, whether you’re looking for an accounts assistant, a head of finance or an IT audit manager, we’ll tap into our strong database of quality candidates to make sure you find the person who is the best fit for your team.

Submit a brief, and we’ll be in touch right away to discuss how we can help you.

25/07/22
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