The Great Resignation of 2021: Why Are People Leaving Their Jobs?
Over the past two years, we have seen more than a pandemic. The veil between our home and working lives has been lifted, conversations around wellbeing have opened up, many pretences have been dropped and we have sight of the bigger picture.
Up until now, requesting to work from home for many would have been almost impossible. Taking a day to catch up and focus on your work without having to sit in traffic for two hours would have been unlikely. And joining a meeting while standing in the playground to pick up the kids would have been a last resort.
But what about now?
Now, the tables have somewhat turned. Our values are being recognised and the big questions are being asked – what do I really want from life? What’s it all about and is this making me happy?
And if you’re currently mulling on similar thoughts, then you’re not alone. So much so, it’s now being coined ‘The Great Resignation’ with evidence of mass movement in the UK and US job markets.
So, what about Ireland? Where are employees at and what’s next?
Why are people leaving their jobs?
Firstly, let’s look at some of the reasons why people are leaving their jobs in the first place.
A recent study from Workhuman has revealed that almost half of Irish workers – 42% – intend to resign from their jobs within the next 12 months. Compared to 2019 – before the pandemic – when just 21% stated they wanted to switch careers.
The main reason given for wanting to change jobs is to gain more workplace flexibility, with 36% of male job seekers citing this reason. In comparison, female workers’ core motivation is better pay.
Are we seeing the same patterns in the IT industry?
As we can see, the movement that is happening across the UK and US is due to employees looking to align their working life with their values and their priorities. So, the shift is occurring due to unrest rather than business growth.
To find out if we are seeing the same patterns in the technology sector, we spoke to IT Recruitment Consultants Chris Byrne and Paul Evans.
“There is a lot of movement currently in the industry,” says Paul. “A lot is due to the high demand currently out there for strong IT professionals and also because there seems to be a shrinking pool of candidates which is in turn driving up the salaries currently on offer. This is definitely an employees’ market at the moment and companies are struggling to fill positions.
However, in correlation to what we are seeing across places like the UK, some candidates have indeed mentioned that their current employer wants them back in the office and so this is pushing them to seek roles that carry more flexible working conditions.”
Chris continues: “Before the pandemic, a lot of our clients had put certain projects on hold, but these are now becoming urgent, so they are turning to contracting to help them get back on track. Security professionals (contract and permanent) for example are in massive demand currently due to all the recent ransomware and hacking activity across the globe. So there is definite movement but mainly driven by high-demand.”
What are the key priorities for workers right now?
“Money and remote working are the biggest priorities,” says Chris.
“For contract positions, I am seeing a big push for fully remote working. Many contractors will not consider onsite or hybrid opportunities. Some clients have fully bought into this, however, quite a lot are still only offering hybrid or fully onsite positions. This means that contract rates are increasing, for specialist positions, as the pool of people available for hybrid or onsite is smaller.”
How is this impacting employers?
“I wouldn’t say employers are changing what they look for, but I think they are a bit more flexible in the current climate than before,” says Paul.
“The overall package is definitely a big factor. Candidates often have 3-4 positions to pick from so the more attractive the offer, the better. So this means companies are having to work very hard to sell the position in order to gain interest. And with salaries going through the roof, smaller companies with limited budgets are at a disadvantage and are struggling to fill their positions.”
“In order to compete for permanent professionals, I am seeing a lot of companies offering very good additional benefits such as extra holidays, family health cover, bigger pensions etc. so that’s an interesting shift,” says Chris.