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The Great Resignation: in the US employees are leaving their jobs en masse, the big question is whether we will see this (and when) in Spain

The great depression, the great recession… and now the great resignation. The American workforce is experiencing a time when many of the employees they want and are changing jobs at rates not seen for years, after what was experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Spain, meanwhile, Human Resources experts are not so clear that the same phenomenon is occurring. Or not at least in such a marked way. But they do agree that many workers plan to change jobs (whether they succeed or not) and that flexibility and telework conditions are increasingly important when applying for a job.

Let’s see why this phenomenon is occurring in the United States and how we can interpret labor mobility data in Spain.

What is the Great Renunciation

The term (Great Resignation) is attributed to Anthony Klotz, who referred to it to predict a massive voluntary exodus from the workforce rather than having to return to his previous position.

In the United States it seems that there is a great movement in active workers. According to the US Department of Labor, during the second quarter of the year 11.5 million workers resigned from their jobs. To give us an idea, this means that 2.6% of employees are changing jobs, while in 2010 only 1.2% of employees did.

Other surveys predict that this trend will continue: a Microsoft study found that 41% of workers are considering leaving their jobs, with Gen Z being the most predisposed (54 percent). Meanwhile, Gallup says 48 percent of employees are actively looking for new opportunities.

What motivates the Great Renunciation

There is no single cause that is causing this Great Renunciation, but there is a Common denominator: the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, 74 percent of people recognize that the time they have spent at home during the pandemic (either due to lockdowns or recommendations to work remotely) has made them rethink their life, especially labor. In addition, 75% of high performing workers feel that the pandemic has made them question their skills, according to a report by Axios.

The stress and exhaustion that this whole situation has entailed also cause many to want a change of scene. The not having known how to manage these new work scenarios, dissatisfaction and even fear are also there. It’s causing a dent in workers. Yes

Sebastian Herrmann Ompknr7yi7g Unsplash
Sebastian Herrmann Ompknr7yi7g Unsplash

But it’s not just him burn syndrome: Workers, more than ever, want to be able to continue teleworking. Those companies that do not facilitate this flexibility are those that are more likely to suffer sick leave of their employees.

Not surprisingly, according to the Microsoft survey, one in five workers thinks that their company does not care about the reconciliation between personal and professional life, despite the fact that more than half feel that they have an excessive workload and 39 % feel exhausted.

Where the Great Renunciation occurs

Although this climate of opinion in the American workforce occurs in almost every industry, generation and position, it is more acute in certain sectors.

Thus, they are workers related to health and technologies where more changes are taking place, perhaps because they are two of the most needed during this pandemic, which could have led to a increased workload and, therefore, of the consequent exhaustion.

Regarding the age ranges, and in addition to what has already been mentioned about Generation Z, the Visier consultancy also ensures that those who have between 30 and 45 years they are the ones who are changing jobs the most. As a data, it should be noted that as of December 2020, voluntary redundancies among managers were 12% higher than the previous year.

Does Spain also resign?

Sigmund Fa9b57hffnm Unsplash
Sigmund Fa9b57hffnm Unsplash

Against this background, we have asked Human Resources companies if they observe that a similar phenomenon is taking place. And the opinions are contradictory.

Ángel Saroma, Hays marketing executive, assures that, with the latest data that the company has on job changes, “the figures indicate the opposite of the Great Renunciation theory, at least in Spain”. According to these data, not only 3 out of 7 changed jobs last year and only 2 out of 8 in the first half of 2021, but 42% of employees do not plan to change jobs for the remainder of the year.

According to Saroma, in 2020, 66% would have changed jobs, while in 2021, 58% plan to do so. “They are different but very indicative questions: in the end, many workers have the intention, but it ends up not materializing”.

Meanwhile, Sara Álvarez, director of Talent Attraction at Adecco, assures that turnover rates are higher. “Comparing it to 2020 is not relevant. If we compare it with 2019, the turnover ratios would be 21 or 21.5% and this year we have risen, being between 22.5 and 23% turnover. To get a better idea, we came from indices that in 2017 were 20 or 19% “, he details.

Crisis management

Pexels Olia Danilevich 4974914
Pexels Olia Danilevich 4974914

In what these two experts agree is that the management that companies have been able to do regarding the climate and workloads during the pandemic has had a direct impact on the emotional burden of people.

Álvarez assures that, in addition to the people who may have lost their jobs, the situation experienced last year “has greatly impacted on the work environment and workloads”. Something that, in his opinion, is impacting so that there is this greater rotation.

The Hays survey, meanwhile, highlights that almost two out of every 3 employees claim to have suffered, during the last year, some period of anxiety, fatigue, tiredness or exhaustion due to the work situation. Something that may be directly related to the fact that almost half consider that the volume of work in their company has increased since the pandemic.

“This is one of the major issues to be addressed since the beginning of the pandemic: the new work systems are also leading to more exhaustion, in addition to a feeling of increased workload,” reflects Saroma.

If you don’t let me telecommute …

The Hays survey also ensures that 60% of companies in Spain do not allow teleworking, especially outside the usual home, “which also makes employees less happy,” according to Ángel Saroma.

And this is one of the demands that has grown the most among those seeking to change jobs, especially in the technology sector. So much so that, according to Sara Álvarez, It is one of the most demanding points at the level of candidacies. “They are demanding candidates because they are aware of the value they have in the market. Both the industry and the candidate are aware of the power they have within this requirement ”, he assures.

Teleworking will show its real face from autumn: control of the pandemic will force companies to clarify their long-term plans

Whereas in the past these technological profiles could inquire more about the training or professional career that they could develop in a company, now one of the questions that the candidate asks the most is related to flexibility measures.

In addition, Álvarez advises that These flexibility requirements will not only be maintained, but will also increase. “If as a company you do not have these measures, you can stay out of the market and you will have a percentage of rejection of candidate offers simply because of this policy of non-flexibility1”.