We’ve all heard about the great wave of resignations rolling across the US, UK and Europe with different levels of intensity, depending on the region and industry. People are quitting their jobs at unprecedented rates! Why isn’t this happening in Australia?
Before answering that question, let’s talk about why people resigned from their jobs, pre- COVID.
Some people were attracted to another company that offered more money or a better title.
Or maybe it was the same job but in a more prestigious organisation with opportunities for growth and personal development.
Perhaps they wanted to work in a company with greater flexibility around when and where to work, that provided more leave, or was closer to home, hence required less commute time.
Other people decided they were not happy in their current profession and decided to pursue a different career.
Instead of writing code they began making guitars. Or their partner took a job in another city that required them to resign and search for a new job.
Sometimes they decided it was time to go back to study, to start their own business, or go back home and take over the family business.
A smaller number of people inherited money and no longer had to work, had problems with their health, or decided it was time to retire.
In short – there are many reasons people quit. So what’s different in 2022?
Life as we know it
COVID pulled the hand brake on life.
For the first time in a long time “life as we know it” in Australia changed dramatically – and the forced lock-downs (and subsequent rolling lock-downs) provided time for people to think about “what my life is” vs. “what I’d like my life to be”.
The TV images and statistics of COVID patients around the world reminded us that “life is short” and can end at any time.
“Am I doing what I love and loving what I do?” became a question many people began to think about quite seriously.
Being required to work from home meant people spent less time commuting, and less expenditure on coffee, dining, petrol, parking, and clothes. Those who received JobKeeper had financial assistance and ties to their employers that workers in the USA, UK, and Europe did not have.
Closing the borders kept COVID out and Australian residents in. They spent some of their money in Australia and saved the rest. They had time and money to be able to think about what they wanted their life to be, and a good number made changes or are planning for change.
The ‘hard break’
The chart below, based on research by The Adecco Group shows during the pandemic a lower percentage of Australians worked more than 40 hours per week than any other developed country in the world and an even smaller percentage think more than 40 hour work weeks will be required after COVID.
Perhaps this is because fewer Australians contracted COVID, so Aussies did not have to work as hard as their counterparts in other parts of the world where more people had COVID, were unable to work, and the remaining workers had to pick up the slack.