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.