Forty-percent of Workers Are Contemplating Quitting Their Jobs. It Could be Worse. Share:

Steve Williamson, Dir. Product Development, eRep, Inc.
Monday, July 26, 2021

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Tags: #opinion #hiring #recruiting

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many things, but it has also brought some things to light. We've known for quite some time that 70% of workers are disengaged, and over 20% are actively disengaged.

When we see reports like this one1 that indicate at least 40% of workers are contemplating quitting their jobs, we know that it could be worse. A lot worse.

The Hiring Nightmare

At the beginning of 2020, at the start of the pandemic, unemployment jumped dramatically. Organizations across the country — and around the world — were letting workers go in large part because they couldn't afford to float their wages when production — and revenue — had stopped.

As workers began to return to the office and the factory floor, something changed. After working from home or not working at all, people began to evaluate how their job impacted their quality of life.

Many workers found their job to be sorely lacking.

This negative assessment encompassed more than just low wages, although pay has definitely played a role. Worker income has stagnated over recent decades while executive compensation has skyrocketed to record levels.

In light of the hardships many have suffered by losing their job, or having to juggle childcare or eldercare while overturning their lives to work from home or change jobs completely, a new priority has taken hold.

Workers are valuing the quality of their job to a greater degree, and are demanding fair wages in contrast to the record-setting compensation of C-suite executives.

This has created a nightmarish hiring situation for employers who are scrambling to reopen and get the revenue stream flowing again. Some are facing unprecedented demand for their goods and services. In a seemingly odd twist, the economy is actually growing rapidly and people are spending pent-up savings, driving demand. The public is clamoring for products but there is a labor shortage to fill the need.

Demand for Products — Demand for Labor

Employers who continue paying minimum wage or won't raise wages to meet the new reality of today's job market will face increasing labor shortages. Cracking the whip on existing staff to take up the slack will only drive them away to other employers, or other careers entirely.

Many industries are lagging behind on production because workers who left during the pandemic aren't returning, and job openings are being ignored.

The demand for products is going unfulfilled because the demand for labor is going unanswered.

Workers are demanding more than just fair wages, they are seeking flexibility and a respect for their overall quality of life. Housing costs have exploded, causing many families to 'bunk up' with others to cover the rent. Some families have even become homeless despite working full time.

The stress of the pandemic and the toil it has taken on people trying to keep their families safe and healthy in the absence of fair wages and affordable housing has caused a shift in priorities. Employers must recognize this shift and respond or fail.

The situation is serious for many organizations who can't get qualified workers to heed the call to return to work. Those companies who compensate their executives less and their workers more will likely see a response. Companies who provide the flexibility families need to take care of children or sick family members will garner interest from job candidates and loyalty from existing staff.

Employers who recognize what is going on with the labor market and respond appropriately and effectively will survive.

Those who don't can expect to see much more than 40% of their workforce departing for kinder and better paying shores.



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Forty-percent of Workers Are Contemplating Quitting Their Jobs. It Could be Worse.

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Steve Williamson

Steve Williamson

Innovator/Banker - Dir. Product Development, eRep, Inc.

Steve has a career in information technology, software development, and project management spanning three decades. He is the author of a series of fantasy novels called The Taesian Chronicles (, and when he isn't writing he is an aspiring multi-instrumentalist and composer, a virtual pilot in a home-built flight simulator, and a cyclist.

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