Worker shortages have become an established challenge in labour markets and the Covid-19 pandemic has now exacerbated the situation by prompting a “Great Resignation.” But what is keeping workers from the labour market? And what is the value of these missing workers to our society and economies?

This article was authored by The Adecco Group’s Bettina Schaller, SVP Head Group Public Affairs.


Worker shortages have become an established challenge in labour markets and the Covid-19 pandemic has now exacerbated the situation by prompting a “Great Resignation.” But what is keeping workers from the labour market? And what is the value of these missing workers to our society and economies?


Certainly, the pandemic has led people to reflect on their lives and priorities. Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index finds that 41% of workers are considering leaving their jobs and as unemployment rates fall, resignation rates are rising to levels not seen for years.


Hiring is at a record high, but so are difficulties in finding staff, according to 69% of employers across 43 countries. Pandemic-related factors such as fear of catching the virus and restrictions in worker migration have obviously had an impact, but labour markets have been tight for many years and data suggests that they show no signs of slowing. Meanwhile, over the past two years, labour force participation has fallen more than unemployment rates have risen. It is estimated that 70% of the global unemployment loss during the pandemic is due to people not actively seeking new employment having lost their work.


For a growing number of people this has been a conscious decision. They have realised that life is precious and want greater work/life balance. Many believe that their job prospects will improve in the future and are falling back on savings until the right opportunity comes along. When people decide to respond to a job offer, money is no longer the main factor. Security, employer values, purpose, opportunities to progress, autonomy and flexibility are increasingly important. Four in five workers don’t want to lose the flexibility they have enjoyed over the past two years and two in five are considering moving to a more flexible job.

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And it doesn’t stop at flexibility. Less than 50% of workers are satisfied with their current career prospects. They want more in areas such as well-being, professional development and perks and expect their work to make them happy. Perhaps it’s not so much a Great Resignation as a Great Re-evaluation of what work means.


Read the full piece here.

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