New poll confirms large number of resignations planned by American workers
It is being called “The Great Resignation.” A third of American workers under age 40 are actively looking for new jobs as they face transitioning back to an office environment once more, a new survey finds.Read More »
The reason, human resource advisers say, is the impact of COVID-19 on the nation’s workforce. The pandemic has reformed workers’ priorities and refined their perception of an ideal workplace.
Through working remotely during the pandemic younger workers, particularly those with young families, were able to enjoy such benefits as flexibility in work hours, avoiding a long commute, and taking care of their families at home.
They discovered a work-life balance that they liked and for which they had been looking. It gave them the opportunity to get out of what many have called “the rat race.”
Now they are reluctant to return to the daily grind of commuting long distances, working long hours—and facing the threat of being infected with COVID-19 in a workplace.
These findings emerge from a new survey which found that 44 percent of Gen Z workers—those now aged under 24—are considering looking for new jobs. About 35 percent of Millennials (aged 25 to 40) are doing so. Together, those who say they are quitting their jobs comprise about a third of the two groups.
In contrast, 27 percent of Gen X workers (41 to 56) and only 11 percent of Boomers (57 to 75) are actively seeking new employment.
The survey of 630 full-time employees was conducted by Paychex, which provides payroll and benefits services, and Future Workplace, a human resources advisory and research company.
The survey was held shortly before the arrival in the United States of the Delta variant, which is highly contagious and which led to a rise in hospitalizations and infections.
What is most important
The lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic provided many workers an opportunity to think about what is most important in a job, says Alison Stevens, director of Human Resources Services at Paychex.
To many of these workers the pandemic made them feel that their position in a company, or the company itself, had not been serving them well, Stevens adds.
Employees working entirely from home are clearly more satisfied with their jobs than those working partly in a workspace. This aspect is illustrated by the survey’s finding that those working full-time from home are markedly less likely to quit their jobs than those who are working in a hybrid situation—one that includes working from home part of the time and working in a workspace the rest of the time.
The poll makes clear that workers’ priorities, particularly among younger employees, have changed.
For six in 10 of all the workers surveyed—from Boomers to Gen Z workers—a pay increase would be a reason to stay loyal to their employer, the research shows. Almost half of all the workers surveyed said an increase of 10 percent to 15 percent would make them likely to stay where they are. An increase of 3 percent to 10 percent, however, would have no impact on them.
For four in every 10 workers surveyed, a bonus would be a strong incentive to persuade them to stay with the company.
Those reactions could indicate a response to a recent uptick in inflation, particularly in the prices in grocery stores and restaurants.
Working conditions outrank money
Younger workers place other benefits above a pay rise, however. For them, working hours that are flexible, wellness benefits, mental health benefits, and family care benefits outrank an increase in pay when it comes to changes their employer could make to boost their loyalty to the company.
Almost half of Gen Z workers said working hours that are flexible would make them less likely to quit.
For all workers, an increase in paid time off is strongly favored as an incentive to remain with a company as are flexible working hours, and improved, or more accessible, health insurance.
Returning to the office
The poll revealed these major concerns that workers have should they face a return to the office:
• The commute to and from the office—29 percent;
• The vaccination status of fellow workers—23 percent;
• Their employer’s practices on sanitation—22 percent;
• Social distancing—22 percent;
• Equality for all workers in opportunities for career development and promotions—21 percent.
Answers lies with employers
The answer to the threat of widespread resignations lies with employers, says Jeanne Meister, a human relations expert and managing partner at Future Workplace..
Their approach to a hybrid workplace and what they have learned since the start of the pandemic will have a lasting effect on who leaves their company and who builds up their skills to get ready for a new role at the company, Meister adds.