The Great Aussie Resignation. You have probably seen it across the headlines of all the major newspapers and it sure does sound scary, doesn't it? But is it? Should you be worried? Will people leaders be left high and dry with vacancies across their teams and sites in major need of new hires? Are your manufacturing workers, drivers and tradies going to be quitting one after the other? Will Australia see 4 million employees quit their jobs in one month like was seen in the US (July 2021, US Bureau of Labour Statistics)?
Probably not, and here is why; because the experts have looked at Australia's job market data, and they see a very different scenario to the one America's experts have coined as "The Great Resignation".
The Great Aussie Resignation is more of a Great Aussie Job Swap
The mere thought or possibility of an Aussie version of the same phenomenon that shook the US has probably brought some anxiety to employers nationwide. But rest assured; help is at hand. The team at Trojan Recruitment is here to myth bust the Great Aussie Resignation and tell you it will be more of a Great Aussie Job Swap. Those who are quitting are not leaving the workforce. Instead, they will look for work with employers who can give them what matters most – and it's not always money.
7.5% quit rate – the lowest on record
Experts say leaving and changing jobs is a sign of a healthy labour market, so an increase in quit rates is desirable – particularly for Australia. Sitting at 7.5 per cent, for February 2021, the ABS recorded the lowest job turnover rate the nation has seen on record. The extended lockdowns across Australia played a significant role in workers choosing to stay put and not look for new opportunities. When we eventually move to a more normal way of life and work, Aussies will re-enter the job market.
26% jump in job swaps
According to figures from LinkedIn, there has been a 26 per cent jump in job swaps for October 2021, compared to the same time last year. Similarly, Aaron McEwan from Gartner says some research suggests that up to three in five Aussies could be looking to change jobs. McEwan suggests March 2022 will be a peak month for resignations or as recruitment starts to gear up after the holiday season.
Job seekers - changing priorities and re-evaluating
Extensive lockdowns have triggered epiphany moments for many Aussies across all fronts. They are re-evaluating family and work values to find out what makes them feel content and happy. Many are no longer willing to settle and stay in organisations with rigid cultures that would like to go back to the old way of working full-time from the office – at least not entirely. Some have also reshuffled their priorities.
Where money used to be a motivator, it has now been replaced with flexible work arrangements. For others, while the money part still matters, they are willing to take a lower rate for better work culture. What we hear is that employees and job seekers alike seem to want fair pay, flexibility, a caring work environment, and reasonable workloads with reasonable hours.
Flexibility is a big-ticket item for many employees who have worked from home or remotely during the lockdown, having never had the option before. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, 20% of Australian workers said they were either considering resigning or had resigned from a role if not offered flexibility.
While many were keen to go back to the office, just as many have enjoyed having more hours in their day without the commute. As a result, employers who can give some choice and room for flexible working will be much more appealing to job seekers. To attract and retain talent, where possible, employers may benefit from offering reasonable, flexible working arrangements that meet some of the work/life balance needs of employees.
How you treat your employees matters more now than ever before. Toxic work environments, lack of care and underappreciation puts your employees at risk. While employee engagement and wellness are seen as a concern for Human Resource teams, the direct effect on productivity, innovation, and the bottom line is well documented, pushing it high up the leadership agenda.
A caring and wellbeing-conscious work environment is now an expectation of employers. Organisations making the wellbeing of their people a priority and cultivating and creating environments that foster positive working relationships, care, and collaboration are most likely to win in the current climate.
Hours and Workloads
According to Employment Hero, 29 per cent of employees said burnout from the last 18 months of working from home was the key reason behind their resignation.
The pandemic and remote working have played a key role in pushing up the figures of burnout across the globe. Working from home means the home/work boundary has disappeared, and as a result, many workers have been putting in more hours and taking on larger workloads.
Employers who have been supportive throughout the remote working period and provided tools and resources to their people to help manage work/life balance have demonstrated the caring and values-driven environment needed during periods of difficulty. This is a strength many job seekers will be looking for in potential employers.
According to Academic Researcher Dr Tatiana Rowson, organisational leaders and managers should aim to create conditions that prevent their employees from reaching burnout points. This can be done by checking in with your employees, implementing flexible schedules, offering helpful perks, and practising what you preach by caring for your wellbeing as a leader.
Employers - The opportunities for 'smart' companies, leaders, and employers
A great Aussie Job Swap also provides opportunities for employers. Forward-thinking organisations are seeing this time as an opportunity. Suppose you can adapt your workplace to reflect the above-listed needs and wants of potential job candidates. In that case, you will avoid the resignation of current employees and even attract a pool of top-notch new talent to your organisation — talent who is leaving organisations that are seen as less progressive.
Relationships are what makes a great workplace & culture
According to SHRM, people with six or more workplace friends report feeling deeply connected to their companies. So, workplaces with strong, healthy relationships amongst their staff and leadership teams have a much higher retention rate. Therefore, if you would like to increase your employee retention rate, focus on building a workplace that fosters friendships at work.
Work to employee strengths
Sometimes it's just a matter of the right person being in the wrong role. According to Gallup, employees whose functions allow them to use their strengths are three times more likely to have an excellent quality of life, six times more likely to be engaged at work and 15 per cent less likely to quit their job.
If you see one of your team members isn't performing their best, struggling with the job they are doing, or not looking engaged, approach them and discuss the option of trying out work that is more aligned to their strengths. That way, they are less likely to look for new and better opportunities elsewhere.
Focus on your value proposition
A changing landscape means there may be an opportunity to focus on your employee value proposition. i.e. all the things that make you an appealing employer to current employees and potential job seekers.
The current environment is the time to re-evaluate your employer value proposition if you haven't already and think about all the people-centric benefits you offer/can offer to an employee. Building meaningful connections, promoting personal development and learning, supporting wellbeing, and uniting in a shared purpose are just some ways you could be considered highly appealing to current and future candidates.
Tap into the exceptional talent pool on offer
In the event of a job swap, we will see a greater number of talent looking around for the next dream role. As a result, forward-thinking employers can benefit from taking a closer look at the pool of talent on the market for potential recruits.
Consider potential future roles now to take advantage of the possible shifts that could benefit your organisation.
Instead of the Great Aussie Resignation, we are more likely to see the Great Aussie Job Swap.
If there is a high resignation rate across the nation, there will be benefits for employers and job seekers alike.
Flexible work arrangements, a healthy work environment and culture, and reasonable hours and workloads are among the benefits employees seek.
'Smart companies' will provide an environment to retain current employees and attract new, top talent.
If you need any assistance with hiring, contact a recruitment agency like Trojan Recruitment Group and receive advice from the experts in labour-hire, permanent and contract staff.