Is the Great Resignation moving through a Mexican wave to Australia?

Australia is sitting on the edge of its seat as we are watching and waiting to see if we will follow suit of the ‘Great Resignation’ riding throughout the United States.

Opinions are divided. Earlier this month, The Conversation wrote that the ‘Great Resignation’ is nothing but a myth, as Australian’s are changing jobs less than ever before.  Last week, the Sydney Morning Herald questioned if this debate is about people’s actual hunger for change and not just a trending topic.

What we are seeing however, is that employees are becoming more intentional with their careers; they want more control in their life, and want to be doing more satisfying work.  Our recruiters are seeing more and more people negotiating their conditions – people are no longer afraid to negotiate what feels fair and equitable to them because at the moment, it is the candidate’s market. But is this going to result in the seismic shift being seen in the US or is it just a reshuffle of priorities and working conditions?

We asked our fellow professionals on LinkedIn for their thoughts, and here are the results:

It is interesting to see the statistic of people who believe that this shift is more about workplace culture.

People are no longer subscribing to what society, and traditional ways of work tells us to do. After the global shift of working which came out of the pandemic, people are more comfortable with change and have an increased confidence to stand for what they value and protect their best interests, whether it be for relationships, health and safety or just having a sense of satisfaction.

Everyone has a different ‘career DNA’. What people need in work to feel complete, is different from the next person and workplaces are beginning to realise that as there is greater room for negotiation of contracts and greater flexibility for individual terms.

On the other hand, since the pandemic begun, people have been spending their time upskilling, re-training and taking a second look at how their skills align with their interests and passions. The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported that employees with in-demand skills have more bargaining power than they have had in decades.

So, what should businesses be doing?

Put simply, adapt to the new labor market conditions and develop innovative approaches to keeping workers satisfied and in their jobs. While customizing contracts and employee benefits and incentives can seem like a sizeable investment, it’s a worthwhile one which is much cheaper than loosing staff in a market that is in favour of candidates.

Invest in learning and development and upskilling staff. We have talked about bench strength before but it’s an important reminder for businesses to assess their teams and start investing in developing capability across teams rather than individuals. Focus on building internal talent which will give employees the tools and the drive to stay engaged in their work and with the business.

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