The Great Resignation

Great Resignation

The Great Resignation is upon us with the UK quit rate at its highest level since 2009. Employees are quitting their jobs for new opportunities. As a result, for the first time on record, the number of job vacancies is higher than the unemployment rate.

Record number of people leaving jobs

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released data revealing that the number of unfilled positions in the UK rose to 2.7% (33,700) which is a new all-time high of 1.295 million in the February and April quarter. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate dropped to 1.257 million in the three months from January to March. This means there is now a jobless rate of 3.7% which is the lowest it has ever been for almost 50 years (since 1974). ONS figures also highlighted that a record 994,000 people moved jobs during the January to March 2022 period. This suggests that employers are struggling now more than ever to hold onto their staff. Recruitment company, Randstad found during research that almost a quarter of employees in the UK say that they plan to move jobs within the next three to six months.

The Great Resignation is not just being experienced by businesses in the UK, but all over the globe in the last year. Undoubtedly, the impact of the pandemic has played a significant role in this shift, as well as the rise in the cost of living.

Factors influencing The Great Resignation

Employees’ work expectations are shifting. Today, it is more than just earning money to pay the bills. Employees now want to feel satisfied and fulfilled in their jobs and are more determined to find suitable jobs than they have been in the past. This is especially the case for Gen-Z and millennials. Additional research from Randstad found that 56% of Gen-Z and 55% of millennials would quit their job if it interfered with their personal lives.

The cost of living is rising and so workers are chasing higher pay. However, because of inflation, businesses are also suffering higher costs making it difficult for some companies (especially smaller ones) to compete with bigger businesses.

The pandemic has created a need, as well as the expectation for compassion and empathy from employers. If employees do not feel this within their leadership, they are more likely to be inclined to quit.

Reasons for The Great Resignation

People are beginning to feel a lot more confident leaving their job if they are unhappy. There are several reasons why an employee may resign such as:

  • Dissatisfaction with management
  • In search of a better work-life balance
  • Negative impacts on mental health
  • Toxic interactions with colleagues and managers
  • Pursuing a dream career that they once held themselves back from
  • In search of better pay

What this means for employers

Employers are struggling to not only hang on to employees but recruit replacements.

The cost of loss of talent is significant to businesses. Many employers do not realise how significant the loss of an employee is until it is too late. Not only is it costly to recruit and then train a replacement, but also factoring in the cost of loss of productivity, and the need to train someone up or delegate training to another staff member.

What can employers do?

Competitive pay

Providing staff with a higher salary not only provides them with a higher disposable income but more security, especially during current times when money is stretched due to the increase in the cost of living and inflation. In addition, a higher salary can show the employee how valued they are within the company.

Aiding the work/life balance

A working environment that aids burnout and overworking will never be successful in retaining employees. Ensure that the workloads are manageable and that employees do not feel overwhelmed with pressure.


Since the pandemic there has been an increase in flexible working hours, as well as the hybrid working model. If suitable, employers could consider offering flexibility within their business through working hours and office/home working.

Reward continuous service

Celebrating long service to the company through rewards acts as an incentive for employees to stay. Employees want to feel valued within a company. It is a good way to show appreciation to your staff for their hard work and loyalty. Rewards could be higher pension contributions, shares, flexibility, increased holidays, and increased salary.

Progression opportunities

Managers should develop clears paths and plans for each employee. It not only highlights to the employee that you care about their individual progression but suggests you are focused on them growing at the company.

If this topic is of interest to you, why not join us at the next PeopleHUB event? Leading recruiter – Adam Nichols, MD of Rosslyn David will be joining us for a discussion on ‘Recruiting and Retaining Staff in a Candidate Driven Market’. Important and relevant topics such as the Great Resignation, the candidate driven market and the impact of the cost-of-living crisis will be discussed. Please click here to secure your place at this event.  

If you would like to learn more about how oneHR can help you to recruit and retain employees in your business, please contact our team here.


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