Employees have been leaving their jobs in droves in the US with the “quit rate” reaching a 20-year high in November 2021. But the Great Resignation: is it happening here too? And if so, what are the reasons for the mass exodus?

Australian employees are on the move

Although not on the same scale as the US Big Quit, it certainly looks as if Australian employees are on the move. A NAB report published in February this year indicates that over 1 in 5 Australians left their jobs in 2021 and a whopping 25% are currently thinking about handing in their notice. Why? Well, COVID, for starters.

Re-evaluating what really matters

Over the last couple of years, employees have had an unprecedented opportunity to re-evaluate what is important to them. People who previously commuted to a workplace five days a week have found themselves working remotely from a home office. And many now don’t want to give up the benefits they have experienced in a WFH arrangement. Fewer hours in the car or on public transport can mean more time to spend with family and friends and/or on personal interests. As well as less stress and more money in the bank (rising fuel prices, anyone?)

Working to live

Rather than living to work, people are now working to live. This is reflected in a 2022 Randstad Workmonitor survey of 35,000 employees across 34 countries, including Australia. One of the key findings was this: most respondents said their personal life was more important than their work life. 58% of those surveyed in Australia agreed that their personal life was the priority. What’s more, 47% said that they would quit their job if it stopped them from enjoying life.

Money makes a difference

But it’s not just work-life balance and personal fulfilment that are behind job moves; it’s also inadequate pay and benefits. In Australia, wage growth has not kept up with inflation. People’s wallets are hurting due to the higher cost of goods and services. Employees know that they can potentially earn a higher salary by changing employer – even by side-stepping into a similar role in a similar industry. And in a tight labour market, they are finding that the jobs are often there for the taking.

How to stall the trend

What next? Savvy employers may consider offering employees greater flexibility, both in working arrangements and hours, where possible. A renewed focus on health and wellbeing would not go amiss either. And a close look at salaries and benefits to ensure that they are on a par with those offered by competitors. Employees may be on the move but acting now may prevent a great resignation from sweeping through Australian workplaces.

Have employee resignations impacted your organisation? For a confidential chat, contact the professional team at Optimal recruitment today on or 02 8416 4181.