Why The Great Resignation Is Still Going Strong

The Great Resignation is a trend that erupted in the wake of the pandemic. Some thought it had since fizzled, but it's still going strong.

By Jennifer Hollohan | Published

the great resignation

If you have never heard of The Great Resignation, chances are you’re not alone. It is a term coined by Anthony C Klotz, who is a professor of management at University College London’s School of Management. Essentially, it refers to the wave of employees resigning during the pandemic. But, it turns out The Great Resignation was not necessarily pandemic-induced. News that the quit rate is not slowing down came as a shock to industry analysts.

Initially, experts believed that The Great Resignation resulted from the uncertainty around the pandemic. And they weren’t entirely wrong in their assessment. Many workers left their jobs during the pandemic for a plethora of reasons.

The Great Resignation saw some workers leaving over serious safety concerns. Others abandoned ship since they lacked the option for remote work. Parents (especially moms) quit in droves when news of school closures came. Those working on the frontline often experienced severe burn-out to the high stress, low pay, and increased work hours.

As the job market tightened up, some individuals left for higher-paying positions so they would have a little extra stability in an uncertain world. But one of the factors potentially behind The Great Resignation isn’t quite so tangible. Workers subjected to lockdowns had ample time for self-reflection. Many realized their work didn’t align with their values. And they left their current role to find a new purpose elsewhere.

But none of that explains the recent news that The Great Resignation is still going strong. After all, pandemic restrictions are easing or fully lifted, depending on the area. And we appear to be barreling toward a global recession. So what could be behind the continued flow of workers quitting their jobs?

Many experts believe the root cause of The Great Resignations runs deeper. As a matter of fact, the quit rate has steadily increased for over a decade. The employment shifts the world experienced during the pandemic only served to shine a light on much deeper, underlying issues that need addressing.

One of the factors adding fuel to The Great Resignation fire could be our overall work culture. Pre-pandemic, we were typically expected to put in increasingly more hours and truly devote our time and lives to work. It was from within this space that “work-life balance” as a buzzword took hold. Companies started advertising that they promoted a healthy work-life balance to attract workers.

With plenty of time to reflect and slow down during the pandemic, many workers decided they had enough of that work culture. Industry experts are now seeing an increasing trend of people leaving their industry and blazing a new professional trail. Also factoring into The Great Resignation is the data from people trading remote jobs for in-person positions and vice versa. 

Our work culture is still undergoing what appears to be a seismic shift. It will be interesting to see where we land after The Great Resignation ends. The only problem is that there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

Even for industry experts, it is unclear what impact the looming global recession will have. It is not unreasonable to assume the quit rate will slow down. But the world is far more complicated than it seems at face value. The Great Resignation could keep running at its current level if the underlying problems remain unaddressed.