The current unemployment rate is 3.6 percent as of March 2022. That is just above the low rate for February 2020, just before the pandemic, of 3.5 percent.
The war for talent continues, and many people are taking advantage of the employee job market and making a switch. Twenty-one percent of workers started a new job in the past year. Some got what they wanted in the new position and the company got the talent it needed.
But not everyone who switched jobs has a happily ever after story. About 40 percent of those who started their new position in the past year are already searching for their next one. A survey of about 5000 workers in the U.S. by the consulting firm Grant Thornton indicates that 29 percent of full-time employees are looking for their next job. Both employers and workers are to blame, according to Tim Glowa, the human capital expert at Grant Thornton.
A misalignment in expectations versus reality is one issue. Perhaps the interviewer made promises that haven’t been kept, or there is a bad fit between the new employee and manager. Over half of the respondents to the survey indicated that they had multiple competing offers to consider. Maybe the employee made a rash decision to take a new position based solely on an increase in compensation, without really considering the ups and downs of switching.
Those who switched jobs cited pay and advancement opportunities as the top two reasons they were seeking a new job and were also the two biggest reasons they turned down other offers. It appears that hiring managers may not be on the same page as job seekers on why people are moving on.
A Wall Street Journal article talks about how job-hopping has lost some of its stigma. The pandemic lockdowns created a well-publicized break for everyone to take stock of where they are and really think about what is important to them. As a result, employees are less willing to settle for low pay, poor benefits, lack of work-life balance, or a toxic work environment. In the article, one person quit on the first day when she was treated unprofessionally in front of her direct reports.
Another disclosed that after he switched to a new position, it didn’t live up to his expectations. He ended up returning to his previous employer after discussions about his opportunities for professional growth. This Great Resignation Boomerang has also lost some of its stigma. Those with remorse after leaving are often finding a welcome back at their previous positions. When approached with transparency on both sides, this can result in a win for the employee and the company.
It seems that one thing the pandemic has shown us is that workers want something beyond a paycheck for their efforts, and are willing to shake up the status quo to find it. That can mean early retirement, switching careers entirely, or finding work with greater flexibility or meaning. And that means the Great Resignation will continue, with all of the remorse, second thoughts and success that implies.