Article: The ‘Great Resignation’ or a ‘Great Opportunity’?

Talent Management

The ‘Great Resignation’ or a ‘Great Opportunity’?

While the waves of the 'Great Resignation' continue to soar, it is wise to take a pause and think about why some employees are choosing to stay. What’s really driving loyalty and retention in a buzzing job market? And what are job seekers really looking for? Let’s find out!
The ‘Great Resignation’ or a ‘Great Opportunity’?

Close to half (48%) of the workforce across APAC is looking to make a career move in the next 12 months. What’s a bigger cause of concern? Over 60% of those aged 18-34 are on the lookout.

According to the findings of a recent industry survey, 65% of those aged 18-24, and 61% of those aged 25-34 are in the process of switching jobs within this year.

“Whether you want to retain and reskill your employees or attract new joiners to your organisation, you need to create an environment where people want to work and can thrive. The transformation underway in how we work is a significant opportunity to design new and improved experiences that help you attract, retain, and develop talent,” said the survey.

Here are other interesting insights that the survey brought to light.

Why are people moving jobs?

According to survey findings, four key factors are driving employees to lookout for better opportunities:

  • Lack of growth opportunities (51%)
  • Salary (38%) 
  • Wellbeing (29%) 
  • Purpose (23%) 

From an age lens, 57% of those aged 18 -24, and 58% of those aged 25-34 stated learning and development to be especially important. This remained the key priority for all age groups with the exception of the 55+ category, where salary took the first spot.

From a role lens, personal growth remained the top driver for individual contributors (50%), managers (54%), C-level executives (48%) and Directors (46%), to exit their organisations.

On the other hand, salary remained among the key influencers for job change, especially for individual contributors (42%) and those aged 35-44 (41%). 

Stress was among the key reasons for a job change for Directors/VPs (44%), C-Levels (31%) and managers (30%). 

Why are people staying?

The data in the previous segment looks into what’s driving individuals to switch jobs. It is also essential then to understand why some are choosing to stay with the organisation amid a buzzing market of opportunities.

  • Work-life balance (60%)
  • Purposeful work (34%) 
  • Manager effectiveness (24%) 
  • Growth (19%) 

Interestingly, two in three of those aged 55+ said flexibility is among the reasons they plan to remain in their current role. This was echoed by 44% of those 18-24.

For the millennial segment, beyond flexibility, purposeful work (42%), a good manager (33%) and growth opportunities (31%) remained key retention factors.

Highlighting growth and manager effectiveness, the study stated that providing growth opportunities and increasing investment in employees is essential. “This is where managers become critical, by investing time, getting to know employees on a personal level, and understanding what matters to them. Knowing this is powerful, but it’s only possible with empowered (and properly trained) managers.It’s also important for managers to have those conversations with their individual team members regularly.”

Reflecting on what factors encourage employees to stay with an organisation , Lee Quane, Regional Director - Asia, ECA International told People Matters that many employees are already invested into their employer’s business where the employment relationship is more symbiotic. “Such employees are less likely to move in spite of the potential of a higher salary elsewhere. This is also more likely in companies that have responded and adapted well to the pandemic in terms of meeting the needs of their employees, such as offering greater flexibility to employees who need to meet family needs during the pandemic.”

What do job seekers want most today?

The most valued perks today include:

  • Flexible time off (50%) 
  • Health and investment benefits (44%)
  • Hybrid work options (42%) 
  • Best-in-class technology (34%)
  • Home office reimbursement (27%) 
  • Mandated COVID testing/vaccinations (24%) 
  • Remote-first policy (24%) 
  • In-office food (24%) 
  • In-person first policy (20%) 

While the majority of the respondents appear to prefer a hybrid work model, this preference varies even within the same age bracket. For instance, out of those aged 18 - 24, 27% prefer an in-person work policy, 25%a remote-first policy and 37% a hybrid policy.

Emphasising the importance of flexibility, the study noted, “Employers that want to attract the best talent need to recognise their employees’ desire for flexibility and will be mindful of the unintended consequences of flexible or hybrid work.”

Making ‘The Great Resignation’ a ‘Great Opportunity’ 

“It’s crucial to learn from the pandemic and discover what employees want next as we continue to adapt. As organisations rethink their future employee experience, they have the opportunity to understand what people want, and then go ahead and deliver it to attract, retain, and develop talent,” said the study.

Amid the 'Great Resignation’, it’s not just talent retention organisations need to think about. They need to also strategise as to how they can capitalize on this moment in time.

There are no doubts about the loss that accompanies losing an employee, however, this soaring wave of exits also offers employers an opportunity to bring in new skilled talent.

But how do they do that? What are job seekers looking for in their new employer?

As hiring managers up their talent acquisition game, they need to keep in mind the experience they build for job seekers, especially as amid hybrid working, job seekers continue to have a preference for in-person interviews (46%) over hybrid (21%) or remote (17%). Candidates today are no longer just seeking an attractive compensation package, funky workspaces and travel opportunities. They want to know more about their potential employer and what the new working ecosystem will be like. Here are some essentials they are looking for:

  • Their wellbeing is a priority (50%)
  • The work policy (41%)
  • Clear expectations (41%)
  • Their work is a priority (33%)
  • Getting to know their team (28%)
  • Getting to know their manager (25%)

“People want the opportunity to grow and develop as we emerge from the pandemic. If your company doesn’t meet that need, they’ll look elsewhere. By understanding how employees feel, and how those feelings evolve over time, employers will be equipped to take the action necessary to deliver the premium experiences their people now demand and expect,” the survey concluded.

Advising employers on how they can leverage the 'Great Resignation' as a 'Great Opportunity', Quane recommended a data driven approach to why people resigned, what could the organisation have done to retain them, and also why some people have stayed. “Companies can start by naval gazing: asking themselves why people resigned and what could they have done to have retained such staff. They can then draw up plans to rectify some of the causes and see what they can do to make themselves an employer of choice. At the same time, it can also investigate why people have stayed and, importantly, who has stayed.”

“If it is the most valuable people in the organisation who have stayed with them, organisations should be looking into what has made these people stay and focus on making such characteristics core to their value proposition as an employer,” Quane added.

Indeed, for employers to be able to distinguish themselves from competitors, in both attracting as well as retaining talent, they must continuously listen to employee feedback to ensure they are fostering a culture that supports employee well-being, belonging and work-life integration. 

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Topics: Talent Management, #Outlook2022

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