Look before you leap into the Great Resignation

Don't Quit - Do ItAustralian businesses may face a great wave of post-pandemic resignations in coming months following the trend in North America and Europe, where millions of employees, from entry level to the executive C-suite are quitting their jobs for new opportunities.

Dubbed the Great Resignation, this employment megatrend marks a seismic shift in the workforce, with global implications, including here in Australia. A Microsoft report from March this year estimated more than 40 per cent of the global workforce is considering leaving their employer this year.

Academics suggest this huge disruption is driven by the power of pandemics to reshape society at fundamental levels, with lockdowns and working from home encouraging employees to rethink the role of work in their lives.

Despite downturns in certain sectors, including tourism, hospitality and aviation, underlying business confidence in Australia has remained positive, while the employment market remains robust due to limits on incoming migration. Estimates suggest there are currently 1.2m Supply Chain jobs available in Australia.

For those considering joining the Great Resignation, maybe to improve income, working conditions or quality of life, it would be a good idea to look before you leap. Following the crowd, or chasing a megatrend, could lead you in the wrong direction.

Being employed gives you an advantage

Being employed gives you an advantage while seeking a new role. It gives you momentum in the race for a better job, an edge over those who have been unemployed for a period of time and highlights you aren’t standing still in your career.

One of the first questions a prospective employer will ask is “why are you unemployed?”. Unless your answer relates to you leaving due to a lack of safety or similar, you may risk sounding disgruntled and possibly creating a mediocre first impression.

Chasing a new role may not always be the best course of action

Although the Great Resignation may create a vast environment of job opportunities, chasing a new role may not always be the best course of action.

Your first step should be to sit down and prioritise what you want from your career. Will the requirements of the role meet your short, medium and long term career objectives and personal goals? Typical goals may include more income, an improved work environment, leave and leisure opportunities, camaraderie and the opportunity for professional development.

Secondly it is prudent to identify the degree to which your current role fulfils your career objectives, either now or in the future, as you progress on your career trajectory. To help you work through the process and discover the answer, you should consider your culture, career and motivation fit as explained on my blog Three Fits you should focus on in your career.

If you decide that your current job is not too bad, meeting some of your requirements, with a few exceptions, your next step should be to talk with your manager about what you want and how your role could evolve to help you reach those goals.

Finding your ideal work life balance

As the Great Resignation starts to bite in Australia, employers will become increasingly focussed on employee retention and nurturing and developing their existing employees rather than incurring the transactional costs associated with recruiting and training new hires. This shift could be beneficial for people who want to redefine their roles, possibly into a more family-friendly form that supports the elusive work life balance.

Companies are still trying to figure out the balance between working from home and working in the office, so a discussion with your manager could be part of the solution for both of you.

Avoid leaping into the unknown

If you do decide your present role is leading you down the wrong path and it is time to look further afield, avoid leaping into the unknown. Talk with friends, trusted colleagues and/or a career coach. Take the time to research and survey the employment market for opportunities that interest you and undertake any training that might enhance your employability moving forward. Better still, set a strategy and be proactive. Job boards offer only a fraction of the opportunities within the market and knowing how to access those ‘hidden’ roles could be the difference in making the next right step.

Importantly, think of your current job as an asset. If possible, do not resign until you have a signed contract from a new company. By minimising the risks of transition, your employment, your career and your lifestyle can fully benefit from the opportunities that arise from the Great Resignation.

About Michael Boyd

Michael Boyd is the Founder and Director of Career Crossroads International, (CCI) an Australian based organisation working across the globe that uses more than 20 years of talent management experience and expertise to bring people and business together. Our unique, personal, approach forms lasting strategic partnerships with our clients to deliver a bespoke talent management service that always exceeds expectations.