Amid Great Resignation 2022, many wonder if Americans quit jobs as result of COVID or greater shift in work culture

In 2021, more than 47 million Americans quit their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – the largest number of resignations recorded. As resignation rates remain high in early 2022, in what has since been considered by some to be the “Big Resignation”, many are wondering if there is a change in the way Americans view work.

Desmond Dickerson, Future of Work Marketing Director at Microsoft, describes himself as a futurist. He said the pandemic distance work was just a “start” for the Great Resignation.

“If you leave work before [before the pandemic]that means uprooting, “Dickerson said. “But now all that needs to happen is to throw a laptop aside and then bring in a new one … So this barrier to entry into jobs has changed.”

The pandemic has radically changed the way Americans work. Many turned homes into offices and some front-line workers began to risk their lives for a salary. After the federal government spent nearly $ 2 trillion on a COVID-19 relief package, the economic recovery from the pandemic accelerated.

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Although some businesses are now booming, they have to fight hard to retain employees.

In late 2020, Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of business at Texas A&M, said he saw the Big Resign coming. During the pandemic, he says he noticed four signs: a build-up of resignations, widespread burnout, people re-evaluating their work-life relationship and, finally, the opportunity to work remotely.

“Once the threat of a pandemic began to be removed, it made sense to me that many of these people would implement their plans to quit their jobs … People who are rethinking what the job meant to them,” Klotz said. “There seemed to be a big disconnect between what the workers wanted, what the workers wanted and what the organizational leaders hoped would happen after the pandemic.”

Dickerson said the change in mindset is evident in the new job postings.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen remote work go from the fringe to the mainstream, and data on LinkedIn shows us that one in seven jobs currently posted has a remote or hybrid component,” Dickerson said. “In March 2020, that number was 1 in 67.”

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While some are able to work from home, front-line workers continued to work in person during the pandemic in order to keep grocery stores, restaurants and hospitals open. Overall front-line work pays less than remote work from home, and many front-line workers get bored because they feel they have been treated unfairly, Klotz said.

“It’s really interesting for people who have personal work that can’t go to work remotely,” Klotz said. “I think these people felt particularly unfairly treated by the pandemic, because not only did they have to work in person, but they also saw the other half of the population working remotely.”

From 1980 to 2019, according to Institute of Economic PolicyThere was a steady increase in the pay rates of high-wage earners, graduates and professionals, but low-wage wages remained stable.

Nicholas Bloom, a professor of economics at Stanford University, said the job market has changed and front-line workers have more say.

“For the first time, perhaps in decades, [historically low earners] he can say, “Look, I can quit my job easily, find another job and get a pay raise at the same time,” Bloom said. “It simply came to our notice then. “People do not give up, mainly because they are dissatisfied with their current jobs, they generally give up to find another job.”

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Bloom said the flexibility of finding a new job also applies to remote employees, and employers are adding permanent full-time jobs or hybrid options to hire and retain talent.

“No one I’m talking to is thinking about coming back. I do not know anyone who has successfully returned professionals five days a week. I just do not think it will happen,” Bloom said.

According to the Microsoft Labor Trend Index, 53% of respondents said so place more emphasis on their own mental health and well-being.

Dickerson said remote work allowed people to do it.

“Organizations and leaders need to be very careful about how they build this new work future,” Dickerson said.

Prior to the pandemic, it was thought that distance work would lead to unproductive results, but since then the critics have proved wrong, according to Klotz. The hard part is that while people can still be productive from home, some companies can still support the value of face-to-face interactions.

“We are in a golden age of business experimentation,” Klotz said. “The exciting thing is that week nine through five is not going to be replaced by any other kind of work arrangement. What it is replacing is an almost infinite number of work arrangements.”

As people begin to adapt to things like hybrid software – a combination of personal and distance work – the pandemic has opened the door to a huge change in the way companies work with their people as individuals.

“I regularly warn companies to avoid making decisions only among top executives,” Bloom said. “We see very large variations in how much people want to work from home, by age, gender, if they have children, by race, by movement, time, by disability.”

Klotz said he believes that even before the “Big Resignation”, a debate about the balance between work and personal life was already taking place just below the surface.

“It gives us an opportunity to really challenge the fundamental way we worked with employees in 2019 and say, ‘How can we fix that, hoping to reduce those turnover rates back to where they were maybe 10 years ago?’ years? ” said Klotz.

Copyright © 2022 ABC News Internet Ventures.

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