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27 Apr 2022

The Great Resignation Goes Global!

Rita Nakhoul


"The Great Resignation," a term coined by Anthony Klotz, expresses a significant shift in employee attitudes toward work. According to CNN, 47.4 million US workers voluntarily left their job last year. Indeed, an impressive number has undoubtedly been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In various industries, employees realized they were not content with their work environment. Americans quit their jobs because they were unhappy either with the environment, the industry, or work-life balance.

This shift is supported by numbers provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to their recent report, almost 4.4 million American workers left their jobs in February 2022, representing 2.9 percent of the total labor market in the United States.

But has this phenomenon only hit the states, or did it spread beyond United States borders?

The Great Resignation taking over Europe

Although this wave first appeared in the United States, it has since affected Europe. In France, for instance, according to Darès, the resignation rate on permanent contracts in July 2021 was 19.4% higher than that observed in 2019. 

Moreover, the country with the record number of pandemic-related resignations was Germany, with a 6 percent quit rate, followed by the United Kingdom with 4.7 percent.

Indeed, the trend is here, and it has become clear that its impact is straightforward. 

According to Eurostat, the unemployment rate in February 2022 reached 6.8 percent in the Eurozone. 

It is no surprise that unemployment and recruitment go hand in hand, and so while the unemployment rate is increasing, many companies face significant difficulties in hiring. 

We asked Sonia Benyahia, the creator of I quit, thanks - the media that help employees leave their job and focus on other projects - to share her personal opinion regarding this subject with us.

She said, "In October 2020, while I was a very unhappy consultant (forced to accept this position due to Covid), I created « I quit, thanks», a media about professional retraining. Since then, I have interviewed over 80 people who quit their jobs to start new projects. The “Big quit” wave hit many more countries than just the US, yet we can’t say it “spread beyond their borders.” This phenomenon didn’t find its roots within the US. It’s been decades that people worldwide have been realizing the importance of being, if not passionate, at least fulfilled by their jobs. And Covid has undeniably amplified this universal “search for meaning.” Because they had more time to think and they thought the “end of the world” was near, the pandemic marked the start of many of my interviewees’ new lives. Yet tons of people decided to quit their jobs long before Covid… and many others will quit long after it’s over – because, hopefully, it’ll keep on getting easier, and most of all, totally cool, to quit a job to pursue new dreams in the years to come."

Moreover, the job market in Europe is also expected to get stronger this year, giving more people a chance to switch roles, said Mariano Mamertino, LinkedIn's chief EMEA economist. According to a LinkedIn study of around 9,000 workers, almost 58 percent of Europeans are considering shifting jobs this year – albeit the survey was conducted before Russia invaded Ukraine, which economists have warned could send the area into recession.

But what are the primary triggers?

Several factors are behind this phenomenon. More and more employees are now asking for shorter working hours and more flexibility. As Forbes reported in a report, these employees have a widespread feeling: they do not want to return to the office after two years of remote work.

The pandemic and its repercussions were a bitter experience that changed many people's lives.

However, the forced transition to a more flexible company model and reorganization of human priorities has sparked a shift in employee attitudes and awareness and apprehension among many employers.

As we are all aware, countries have seen increased remote work rates during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The crisis has created a sudden need for companies and employees to introduce or strengthen remote and hybrid work. In facilitating this transition, information and communication technologies have played a vital role in allowing economic activities to continue and a significant proportion of individuals to continue to earn income. 
Whether or not the pandemic is eradicated, remote work should remain a habit.

Unfortunately, some companies do not agree with this statement and are now asking their employees to go back to the office. 

However, "Many people who have been working remotely would like to keep working remotely even after the pandemic." said Christian Rebernik, CEO & Co-Founder of Tomorrow's Education. "It demonstrated how effective remote work can be. If they are forced to come back to the office, they consider looking for new jobs. With Tomorrow's Education, we built a remote-first company, and we saw many people applying. Candidates express the benefits of having less commuting time and more flexibility around work." 

Large numbers of employees see returning to the office as a waste of time. That related to transport is one reason that comes up most frequently: an individual can lose almost an hour and a half a day because of the commute. 

In addition to the public transportation, other disadvantages weigh on him: preparation time, picking out clothes, leaving earlier in the morning and coming back later at night, etc. All this results in shortened nights.

Those disadvantages play a significant role in the labor force’s work-life balance, mental health, and burnout.

A solution for this phenomenon

Loïc Houssier, VP of Engineering at Firstbase, commented, "Remote is not a trend anymore. Coronavirus has forced people into remote work. A majority is now ready to leave their company if forced to return to the office. We see great talents every day applying elsewhere for this very reason."

A significant number of workers are now used to flexible working hours, spending more time with their families, and with complete honesty favoring their family life over professional life.

But how can companies react? Is the Great Resignation a fatality? No, of course not, but it is urgent, and it is the case for all companies, whatever their size.

In our humble opinion, we believe that working remotely is part of the solution for both employers and employees.

How do you ask?

The benefits for companies would most likely be an increase in production due to the rise in productivity and the allocation of part of the savings in transport time; savings on-premises and running costs; a reduction in absenteeism; and improvement in terms of quality of life and reduction of "carbon impacts" relating to home-work mobility.

In addition, knowledge workers will find a better work-life balance - (for example, having lunch with the family or practicing your hobbies - save on fuel or childcare, and, of course, gain time and avoid stress since they are not taking public transport.

Covid-19 has shown the world that distributed teams and remote work are more than possible, and it made us all realize that going back to the pre-pandemic era wasn't ideal.

At Stakha, we could help you find your next opportunity as a full-time remote employee. Thanks to our diversified job openings, you will have the chance to work for some amazing tech companies from anywhere in the EU.

Our mission is to build a more talented and diversified working environment that will change the future of work.