A company in South Africa asked why people are resigning – here’s how many indicated that they are emigrating

 ·4 Jun 2022

René Richter, managing director of reward management platform Remchannel, a member of the Old Mutual Group, says that salary budgets are likely no longer sufficient to meet evolving employee demands.

Discussing findings of the group’s bi-annual 2022 Salary and Wage Survey, she said that the pressure on salaries presents a new challenge to employers as they look to retain and attract talent while remaining competitive.

The phenomenon dubbed the ‘great resignation’ has not helped as workers seek better opportunities and flexibility.

According to the group’s survey, 36.4% of the labour turnover resulted from resignations over the past 12 months. “Resignations continue to be at the highest levels of all the termination categories that we have seen over the past 10 years, despite the pandemic and the economic uncertainty,” said Richter.

“The total sample of employees covered just over 618,000 people. This means at an average turnover rate of 17.7%, just under 40,000 employees resigned from 82 companies.”

Richter said this untenable situation would force employers to reconsider their employee value proposition and retention policies if they are to retain their brightest staff.

Reasons for resignation include the following:

  • 19 % indicated that they left for better pay;
  • 53% indicated that they’re leaving for a better working environment, improve career opportunities, or avoiding a toxic environment citing bullying or harassment;
  • 20% said they were leaving for greater work-life balance or to avoid burnout and/or stress; and
  • 8% indicated that they are emigrating.

Additionally, Remchannel conducted a snap survey to understand how employees feel about returning to the office after the state of disaster implemented by the government was lifted in South Africa. “The results reveal a clear desire for a work-life balance, including working from home,” said Richter.

“The survey found that most of the participants (70%) had implemented a hybrid working model and had not attempted to return to a pre-Covid office model.”

However, the survey clearly indicates that 35% of employees are not happy to be back at the office and 28% resist returning to the office model, even if it is a hybrid model. It found that organisational culture and key elements such as improved communication, trust and empowering workers quickly became a prerequisite for employees.

“No longer are staff thinking about the consequences of terminating employment, especially if their skills are in demand,” said Richter. “Most employees also believe that their productivity has improved working from home. This is the second-highest selection made by the participants in this survey and is directly influenced by the number one reason, ‘less time spent travelling to/from work’.”

Employers, however, believe that while the pandemic forced a flexible model, it is not sustainable. The single biggest reason cited by employers in this survey is the loss of culture and working relationships between team members, followed by challenges onboarding new staff.

“While these are certainly valid concerns, perhaps the question should be how the flexible work model can be adapted to overcome these challenges. Organisations should invest in exploring what critical competencies employees will need to collaborate digitally, and they should be prepared to alter and improve employee experience strategies to remain competitive,” said Richter.

Read: Some good news for businesses in South Africa

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