A Great Resignation 2.0 is simmering as employees feel overworked and underpaid, forcing them to look for greener pastures

The verdicts on the Great Resignation of the pandemic years may need to wait. More people are now reconsidering their options as they increasingly feel overworked and underpaid amid relentless cost pressures.

Employees feel so bogged down by work that far more people are considering resigning now than during the mass resignations we saw in 2022, according to a survey by auditor PwC. The report, which covered over 56,000 workers worldwide, found a staggering increase of 28% in the number of people who plan to change jobs, compared to 19% during the Great Resignation in 2022.

Their reasons? Higher workload, career ambitions, and new technology entering the workplace. Nearly half of those surveyed said their workload had increased "significantly" in the past 12 months. Workers are also nervous about their pay, with 43% keen to ask for a raise. Additionally, 62% of employees feel the pace of change in the workplace has ramped up, as they've had to adapt to new tech tools and increased financial pressure.

Employees' personal goals to expand their skill set and further their careers are also prompting them to consider jumping ship. Overall, more workers feel better off moving to a new role, hoping to find some respite.

The Great Resignation may have taken off in the U.S., but Europeans haven't been spared either. Countries like France, Germany, and the U.K. have also faced dilemmas surrounding jobs, pay, and benefits in the past few years. Worker dissatisfaction has come at a time of elevated interest rates and living costs, pushing more of them to consider looking for greener pastures.

These trends point to a continuation of the Great Resignation, but the context has shifted from the pandemic-induced remote working to a relatively "normal" period facing new challenges, such as the rise of AI. While most CEOs think tech is the reason for new changes at work, very few employees use generative AI-powered tools regularly. However, the study found that 72% of the infrequent AI users among the respondents think the tech will improve the quality of their work, while half of them believe it will lead to higher salaries.

The catch for employees shifting their gaze elsewhere is that most of those who quit their jobs eventually regret their decision. However, PwC suggests managers step up in helping employees navigate the tricky balance between all the changes at the workplace and not feeling swamped while at it. Companies need to create guidance and mentoring about the types of skills employees need to build, and foster a culture of learning as part of the organization's DNA. 

US consumer confidence eased this month on a more muted outlook for business conditions, the job market and incomes.

The Conference Board’s gauge of sentiment decreased to 100.4 from a downwardly revised 101.3 reading in May, data out Tuesday showed. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a reading of 100.

June’s measure of expectations for the next six months fell nearly 2 points to 73, while present conditions increased from a downwardly revised May reading.

Confidence has been subdued over the past few years as consumers contend with a higher cost of living, elevated borrowing costs and, more recently, a softening in the labor market. Only 12.5% of consumers expect business conditions to improve in the next six months, the smallest share since 2011.

“Confidence pulled back in June but remained within the same narrow range that’s held throughout the past two years, as strength in current labor market views continued to outweigh concerns about the future,” Dana Peterson, chief economist at the Conference Board, said in a statement. “However, if material weaknesses in the labor market appear, confidence could weaken as the year progresses.”

Concern about prices eased this month, though consumers still noted elevated prices for groceries. Inflation data for the month of May showed a broad pullback in price increases for US consumers.

Consumers also pared buying plans for motor vehicles and major appliances, which are often financed. However, more respondents indicated they intend to take a vacation in the second half of the year, reflecting a pickup in domestic travel plans.

Consumers’ view of the current labor market improved slightly. Some 38.1% of consumers said jobs were “plentiful,” up from 37% in May, while fewer said jobs were “hard to get.” The difference between these two — a metric closely followed by economists to gauge labor-market strength — rose for the first time since the start of the year.

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