The Great Resignation: Almost 40% of Aussies planning to change jobs

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The Great Resignation is expected to hit Australia as COVID-19 restrictions ease, with almost 40% of workers planning to change jobs in the next 12 months.

Research conducted by PwC and Deloitte has revealed a large number of Australians are planning to seek out new career opportunities for a range of reasons, including a desire for change and flexible working arrangements. 

Steve Grace, founder and chief executive of the recruitment agency The Nudge Group, says more Australian workers are looking to change jobs because the pandemic has influenced their personal and professional goals. 

“Everybody finally feels like the world is getting back to normal and they feel like a fresh start,” Grace tells SmartCompany.

“People are looking to do something that they feel has more meaning and impact.”

What’s The Great Resignation?

The Great Resignation emerged in the US earlier this year when record numbers of Americans quit their jobs, prompting human resources experts to study the reasons for the shift. 

Recent research focused on Australia has revealed a similar trend will take place here, following low resignation rates throughout the pandemic.

A survey of 1800 workers conducted by consulting firm PwC Australia found 38% want to find a new job in the next 12 months.

What’s more, six in 10 people who have left a business in the past year are also looking to leave their current employer in the next 12 months. 

According to PwC, the expected surge in resignations comes after unusually low levels of employee turnover in Australia. In fact, Australia experienced the lowest employee turnover since the Australian Bureau of Statistics started tracking labour mobility in 1972.

ABS data shows that 7.5% of Australian workers changed jobs in the year to February 2021.

“That’s why Australian workers will soon be on the move in much larger numbers than we’ve seen in recent times: The Great Resignation,” the report states.

Hybrid work as important as a pay rise  

A major reason employees are planning to leave their current workplace is because they want flexible working arrangements.

Grace says ultimately what workers are seeking is the choice to work when and where they want.

“I don’t think people want to work fully remotely, I don’t think people necessarily want to have to work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in the office,” Grace says.

“People want the ability to be able to work when they can to fit around their lives,” he adds. 

A Deloitte Access Economics survey commissioned by Telstra found 54% employees valued hybrid work as or more important than a 5% pay rise.

The study also found that 90% of workers think hybrid work has improved their mental health, while 83% say their physical health has improved.

Grace says employers should be aware how much their staff value flexibility when drafting hybrid work policies.

“I think a lot of companies are creating these policies which they think are helping but they’re not,” he says.

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