How many people are really fed up with their jobs?

Numbers show problem overblown; blame culture, bad bosses

How many people are really fed up with their jobs?

While COVID continues to upset lives and careers, most notably manifested in the “great resignation,” there is a sense today that some initial fears were a bit overblown.

What has been coming up among many workers being surveyed about their own experiences, is a sense of regret.

One in four workers (26 per cent) who quit their previous job say they regret the decision, according to a survey by Joblist of more than 15,000 jobseekers. Hospitality workers (31 per cent) are the most likely to regret quitting, while healthcare workers (14 per cent) are the least likely.

But when asked what exactly they did regret about leaving their old lives, finding out just how difficult it was to find new work, if they didn’t already have that new job in place before handing in the resignation slip, was cited by 40 per cent of respondents.

Money was the biggest driver for why these folks quit, as a whopping 78 per cent believed that the grass would be greener if they switched jobs.

‘Boomerang employee’

The pull-back to their previous careers was particularly strong for a lot of workers. When asked if they would consider going back to their old job as a “boomerang employee,” a majority (59 per cent) said “no,” while 17 per cent said “yes” and 24 per cent were “maybe” open to it.

“Because there’s such pressure on talent and you’re really preparing for the future, many companies are considering the boomerang as another option to fill open vacancies,” says Steve Knox, vice-president of global talent acquisition at Ceridian in Toronto.

Another recent look at the numbers, found that the “great resignation” might not have been all that great.

Voluntary turnover rates in the U.S. have increased just three percentage points (from 18 per cent to 21 per cent) since before the pandemic, according to a report by WorldatWork in partnership with UFlexReward.

Still, 80 per cent of organizations say labour shortages and competition for talent is the greatest challenge in 2022, and the number of full-time professionals focused on talent acquisition and recruitment has increased by more than one-third since before 2020, according to the survey of 556 respondents conducted in February.

In order to stop the leaks from organizations, employers are looking to help employees find a happy medium, says Deirdre Macbeth, WorldatWork content director.

“Of organizations who have implemented or are currently implementing action in HR policies, 87 per cent are adding remote work options which shows their recognition of the importance and effectiveness of work-life balance on retention and recruitment,” she says.

Toxic culture

For those who actually have walked out the door, the number one reason has nothing to do with money, it was a toxic culture that pushed them away.

62 per cent of employees surveyed by FlexJobs pegged this as the top reason why they have left, which edged out salary (59 per cent) and poor management (56), along with the lack of healthy work-life balance (49 per cent) and remote work (43 per cent), being burned out (42 per cent), and not allowing flexible schedules (41 per cent).

“Toxic company culture drives people to leave their jobs more than any other single factor. Especially with many companies now transitioning to permanent hybrid workplaces, it’s critical that leaders emphasize building healthy cultures that are inclusive of all their workers’ needs and locations, whether they’re on-site or remote,” says Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs.

For one expert on the topic, companies should take a close look at just how people are being treated, lest they risk a mass resignation.

“If the organization is large enough, it’s probably going to have some pockets of toxicity, nevertheless. And even if the culture is very healthy as a whole, toxicity can still be the number one driver of attrition, just because although it’s only affecting a small percentage of the organization, it can still have a very powerful effect on that portion of the organization,” says Charles Sull, co-founder of CultureX, which did a major study on the topic with MIT and found similar results.

It’s not only culture for a lot of workers, the problem hits more closely to home, found another survey.

Seventy-five per cent of employees are frustrated with their managers, finds a survey of U.S. workers by Clever Real Estate in February.

“People are frustrated with their managers — all employees feel that at some point. This is really more deep-seated and that was a little bit surprising to me, just how many people are frustrated,” says Jaime Dunaway-Seale, content writer at Clever Real Estate in Dallas.

The biggest reasons for this frustration are unclear communication (31 per cent), and micromanagement (27 per cent), found the survey.

The message is clear: quell a toxic culture and this effort begins by looking at management.

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