After forced shutdowns left many without work in 2020 and the expiration of government assistance turned up the financial pressure on millions of Americans in 2021, one might think 2022 is shaping up as a year in which the job market finds its equilibrium. Surely, workers are ready to begin stepping into the positions so many businesses are eagerly seeking to fill. But recent trends suggest that simply isn’t the case. The Great Resignation, as it’s being called, is being driven by a combination of pent-up demand from employers and an awakening of sorts among employees.
Given time to consider their professional circumstances, which was followed by an explosion of job openings across industries and sectors, workers – employed and unemployed alike – are taking their time to carefully weigh their next moves.
With more workers than ever reflecting on their careers, values and priorities – which may have been shifted or reshuffled by the global pandemic – it is now employers’ turn for reflection. In order to attract and retain the best talent, and create a satisfying, productive work environment, many businesses must re-evaluate everything from work norms to employee benefits to pay structure. And we aren’t just talking about a ping-pong table in the break room and a company-wide cost-of-living salary bump.
As a business, it is critical to begin quantifying what workers value – not just what you’ve been willing to offer in the past. What will move the needle for a prospect who has not been working professionally through the pandemic, and who is in a position to continue doing so? And what will it take to pry away a worker who maintained their job throughout the pandemic, which likely reflects stability and mutual satisfaction on both sides of the worker-employer relationship or risk aversion? The answers will help to push against the forces
Additionally, some workers who did make a move in the past two years are surely unsatisfied. Not every professional relationship is a fit. Perhaps the employee had to settle on a salary less than what they felt they deserved. Maybe the upward mobility a worker anticipated in this market never quite materialized. Whatever the reason for an employee’s dissatisfaction, it’s an opportunity for another company to make its own case and pitch an open role.
The key for employers is understanding that 2022 doesn’t have to be the year of the Great Resignation. What appears to be a bleak labor market is a chance to assess the pros and cons of your business through the eyes of current and potential employees. It’s an opportunity to consider contract positions that create more flexibility for your workforce and appeal to a wider spectrum of workers – including those seeking short-term gigs, or part-time roles.
Employees not currently participating in the workforce won’t hold out forever. But when the time comes and they begin returning to work en masse – and that may be exactly how it unfolds – would you prefer that your business be at the top of the best prospects’ lists or simply settle for whichever workers are left over when the dust settles? By striving now to create favorable compensation packages, clear career-development tracks and an attractive work environment and structure, your business is far more likely to land the employees needed to take it to the next level.
Looking for additional tools to combat the Great Resignation? PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud can provide a stopgap for companies.