Glossary
Essential terms used by HR and their meanings.

Great Resignation


The great resignation, otherwise known as the ‘big quit’ is a current cultural phenomenon that is fundamentally shaping the talent attraction space, and altering the approach taken within people management.

What is the great resignation?

The Great Resignation is a term first coined by Professor Anthony Klotz of Texas A&M University, which refers to the vast number of professionals leaving their jobs following the advent of the COVID pandemic. For a number of reasons, such as how companies cared for workers in the pandemic, changes in life circumstances and a readdressing of work-life balance, in this time, many employees left their roles.

HR and leaders are now having to navigate the adverse effects of large talent shifts, including offering more progressive benefits, compensation and working structures to account for the vast number of vacancies currently being felt. In 2022, ONS figures noted that active vacancies were at record high amounts, with over one million open positions on the market.

Data from the ONS also ascertained that:

Resignation rates are highest among mid-career employees, who are likely seeking a change following the pandemic.

Resignation rates are currently highest in the technology and healthcare industries, with hospitality also seeing widespread shortages.

The Great Resignation

What the great resignation tells us about organisational culture

Research from the World Economic Forum (WEF) states that the great resignation highlights the importance to understanding why people are leaving and what can be done to prevent the great resignation. It also calls for a data-driven approach to determine not just how many people are quitting, but who exactly has the highest turnover risk.

Dr. Isabell Welpe, from the Technical University of Munich, told the WEF that workplaces now have to make fundamental organisational decisions in order to prevent mass resignations within their workforce. “What we can already see is that how we organise work and work together will not return to the way it was before the pandemic,” she stated.

“Many companies have announced that their employees never have to return to the office fulltime. I would expect to see a post pandemic work organisation as one that moves away from a one-size-fits-all approach towards one that allows individual and asynchronous organisation of work and work settings.”

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