The Great Resignation – Passing Fad or Here to Stay?

Tony Wright

Published on
15 June 2022

It’s impossible not to have noticed the effects of the worldwide phenomena that experts refer to as ‘The Great Resignation’. Everywhere you look, businesses from the high street and beyond have signs outside their premises, declaring: ‘We’re Hiring!’.

But what is The Great Resignation and where did it all start?

What is The Great Resignation?

As the name suggests, organisations have been struggling with mass resignations across numerous industries, leaving businesses with large gaps in their workforce, and an urgent need for new applicants. 

Experts noticed this trend beginning in 2019, with the number of people voluntarily resigning steadily increasing until the pandemic, which accelerated The Great Resignation, creating a monumental shift in labour and economy. 

It seems as though the pandemic only exacerbated the feelings that triggered the initial movement, and now there are no signs of this trend slowing down, with 354,000 job resignations in the first quarter of 2022 in the UK alone. 

In this article, our experts explore why The Great Resignation began, how it has affected businesses, and how it can be used as an opportunity to rejuvenate recruitment processes. 

What Causes Employees to Voluntarily Resign?

While you may have heard of The Great Resignation, you might not necessarily understand why it is happening.

So, what are the reasons that propelled so many workers into resigning? 

This has been subject to debate, but most experts agree that the majority of cases are caused by the following factors. 

Career dissatisfaction 

One of the main causes of mass resignations is that workers were generally dissatisfied in their career.  

The reasons for this obviously vary from case to case, but some common examples are:

  • Limited prospects in their current role
  • Demanding hours
  • Being overqualified 
  • Commuting times
  • Wanting to seek a completely new career path 

Working conditions 

This is a factor that was emphasised by the pandemic, when people had a sample of working from home and ‘hybrid’ working. 

Now, as routines are returning to what they were before COVID 19, there is a general hyper awareness of working conditions, such as the time that it takes to commute and overly stressful working environments. 

People have had a taste of an alternative. They understand that their role can be executed remotely, and it’s changed business forever.  

Improve quality of life

In the same vein as the previous point, workers may have chosen resignation as an opportunity to improve their quality of life.

Many who developed mental health issues from work, due to either stressful situations or demanding working hours, are now searching for a position that makes them more content and healthier in their day-to-day lives. 

Suffering from burnout

This is seen the most from young workers in white-collar industries such as finance or consultancy. These roles are often demanding and highly competitive, which commonly leads to psychological exhaustion.

Burnout can massively impact mental and physical health, and many employees found that their jobs weren’t worth the consequences of this mental exhaustion. 

This is also the case for frontline workers and caregivers, who endured intense pressure and dangerous working conditions during the pandemic. 

Ultimately, there has been an overall change in the level of tolerance for work-based stresses or pressure, and a greater demand for employer understanding and support. 

How does The Great Resignation Affect Businesses?

If you haven’t already experienced this first hand, you may be wondering how The Great Resignation would affect your business. As you may expect, multiple resignations would lead to:

  • A significant disruption to usual business services. 
  • A reduction in profits from repeat recruitment and training costs 
  • An increase in pressure on those who have managerial positions to find solutions in areas now struggling. 

How can The Great Resignation Benefit a Business? 

If you have felt the sting of The Great Resignation, don’t panic. While it may seem like a crisis to have lost valued members of your workforce, it is possible for a business to benefit from The Great Resignation.

If you are looking to hire in order to replace those who have resigned, you can use this as an opportunity to use renewed recruitment strategies. 

Remember that while people are resigning to find themselves their ideal career, your business and what it stands for could be exactly what others are looking for. 

Is The Great Resignation Here to Stay?

While there’s no way to say for sure, it’s likely that the ripple effects of The Great Resignation are here to stay.

Employees no longer tolerate poor pay, poor working conditions and a lack of support. Many employees are even choosing to start their own business; we’ve seen a massive uptick in the number of entrepreneurs deciding that now is the time to take their careers into their own hands.

Start your own recruitment business with Quantum Connect

Thanks to The Great Resignation, the recruitment industry is, as you’d expect, booming. 

Many people, even those who don’t necessarily have explicit recruitment experience, are deciding to establish their own successful recruitment businesses, making more money and gaining more control over their careers. 

At Quantum Connect, we help aspirational recruitment entrepreneurs to establish their own recruitment consultancies. We’ll provide all the necessary resources, funding and guidance you need to build a thriving recruitment business.

If you have any questions or want to speak to a member of our friendly team, get in touch with one of our experts today.