If you have browsed articles and social media posts online recently, you may experience an urge to quit your job given the online chatter on resignation. Let’s take a closer look at what is causing this social dialogue.
The Great Resignation
The Great Resignation (a phrase that evokes memories of historical events such as the Great Depression or the Great war) is a trending topic across news and blog sites these days. But what is it exactly?
The term, coined by US news media post-COVID, refers to a global phenomenon: the fact that millions of Americans (4 million in July 2021 alone, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics) and hundreds of millions of professionals worldwide, have decided to change jobs or shift careers this year by resigning from their current positions ‘en masse’.
So, what triggered this synchronised global response to one of life’s most important decision? Experts claim that recent rising cost of living and fixed wages have forced many to reconsider their current employment situation. However, constant lockdowns and increased workloads, as well as the new reality of working from home are all factors that led to a global shift in societal attitudes. On the other hand, the increase in demand for jobs that require fewer qualifications, such as in delivery and distribution, as well as the lack of jobs available in traditional ‘fall-back’ sectors such as hospitality and retail post-COVID, has enticed many to seek new roles.
Who is actually quitting?
Resignation has been, interestingly, most common among mid-level employees – the majority of whom are aged between 30 and 45. In fact resignations have declined among younger employees, where lack of experience (and perceived higher levels of risk to employers) combined with the uncertainty of a post COVID economy has created the opposite effect. Similarly, older groups of professionals, such as the 60-70 age group, have also experienced a decline in overall resignations.
In terms of industries, resignations were highest in the Technology sector (4.5%) – where certain sub-sectors experienced extreme growth during COVID, and the Healthcare sector (3.6%) – where employees took the biggest brunt of the burnout from the pandemic.
At home, in Canada, the reality has been very different. With fewer businesses and job opportunities (especially outside Toronto) the jobs market’s equivalent to a game of musical chairs did not play out on the same scale. In contrast to the US, where half a million jobs were created to add to the 18.2 million jobs created since April (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) – only 31,000 jobs were created in Canada in October to add to a mere total of 328,000 jobs created since April (Stats Canada).
Wages are also rising more in tune with inflation here, which has motivated Canadians (who are, generally speaking, less prone to switching jobs as often as their American counterparts) to stay the course with their current employers.
What does this mean for you?
If you are a young professional in Canada, it is a good idea to return to your jobs as the economy opens. The same applies for everyone else unless you are in Technology or Healthcare and are open to trying your luck south of the border.
Or, if you want to stay in the country, many global tech companies have set up shop in Canada recently, opening a surplus of job opportunities. These are mostly restricted to Toronto and the GTA.
The only industries that currently face acute shortages in labour are brick-and-mortar retail and hospitality, which may not see a rush of applications from qualified professionals any time soon.
In conclusion, to answer the question of whether you should quit your current job: your best course of action may be to ask your employers for a raise (if it hasn’t already been discussed) and accommodations for flexible work schedules.