The great resignation is becoming the great regret

The rising cost of living globally is making consumers rethink resigning from their current positions, curbing the trend of the ‘great resignation’.

Global HR services company Randstad NV said to Bloomberg that there are still some people resigning, but it is slowing down with consumer confidence and inflation making people think twice before they jump on a six-week vacation before they have a new job.

Recent job-search data from 15,000 consumers surveyed by Joblist showed that more than a quarter of those who left work are reconsidering whether they made the right move, said Bloomberg.

The great resignation, which emerged during the coronavirus pandemic, has been a boon for employees searching for better working conditions and higher pay.

Economies bouncing back from Covid-19 and work-from-home options have made it easier to quit unappealing positions and look for alternatives. “About 20 million people quit their jobs in the US in the first five months of this year, roughly double what it was a decade ago,” reported Bloomberg.

We are seeing some clients slowing down hiring but not stopping altogether, Randstad NV said. “Some clients are thinking: ‘do I really want to let people go at this point because if the market comes back at some point, I’ve found out it’s really hard to get them back.’”

With companies seeking to respond to demand for more working flexibility as the pandemic recedes, work from home has become increasingly polarising, reported Bloomberg.

“People are going back to the office but not in droves,” added Randstad NV. “I do expect that as the market becomes more difficult, showing up in the office will become more important as it likely gives a good impression, which helps your career.”

What’s happening in South Africa

South Africa is no exception to the great resignation trend, but has local nuances that are playing out largely because of our massive unemployment rate, said Chris Blair, chief executive of remuneration and HR consultancy 21st Century.

“We have a 35% unemployment (rate) and 65% youth unemployment – so why would people resign in a market with a huge oversupply of labour?”

For this reason, South Africa’s ‘great resignation’ is ring-fenced in the professional and specialist roles that are scarce skills in the market, said Blair.

Inflation was recorded at 7.4% in June 2022, up from 6.5% in May 2022 according to Statistics South Africa (StatsSA), putting additional pressure on consumers faced with rising fuel prices, electricity, and food costs, among many other things.


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The great resignation is becoming the great regret