The “Great Resignation” has largely been fuelled by burnout, but other factors also include the shift to working from home and the desire to move into a more stable profession.

In 2020, resignation rates across the US plummeted due to the fear and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. However, one year later, as the workforce experienced a collective burnout, individuals left their jobs at unprecedented rates, leading some to describe the phenomenon as the Great Resignation.

In November 2021, 4.5 million workers left their jobs according to the US Labor Department. This matched record numbers observed in September and accounted for 3 per cent of the workforce quitting their jobs each month. Estimates indicate that in total, 75.5 million people in America resigned in 2021. Furthermore, according to a ResumeBuilder.com poll, around 23 per cent of the workforce will seek new jobs in 2022.

Low-wage workers were more likely to resign than their higher-paid counterparts with the sectors most affected including hospitality, healthcare and social assistance, and transportation, warehousing, and utilities. Around 4.4 per cent of all positions in education are open, over 6 per cent in retail, and more than 8 per cent in healthcare. This amounts to almost a million and a half vacant positions.

In India, the situation is not as dire but still cause for concern. Following the Great Resignation, the IT and technology sector is hiring at unprecedented rates with the top five IT companies hiring around 1.7 lakh people in 2021. Not only are people in the workforce changing jobs, but according to a September 2021 survey by Amazon India, nearly 51 per cent of job seekers are looking for opportunities in industries where they have little to no experience.

The Great Resignation has largely been fuelled by burnout, but other factors also include the shift to working from home and the desire to move into a more stable profession. An MIT Sloan study found that more innovative companies suffer from a higher turnover as they demand more from their employees and project a sense of instability due to their cutting-edge nature. Unsurprisingly, companies that report higher employee satisfaction are better at retaining their employees. The MIT analysis found that a toxic corporate culture is the higher predictor of attrition and over ten times more important than salary in predicting turnover.

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