Australian Businesses Need to Hedge Against ‘Great Resignation’: Research Group

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Australian employers—already facing difficulties keeping afloat during the pandemic—will need to hedge against a possible “Great Resignation” that could see a massive shift of employees moving away from their current jobs to new ones.

“The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has given Australians a chance to pause and reflect, and for many, they have actually taken the choice to reprioritise their lives,” Sophie Renton, managing director at McCrindle Research, told The Epoch Times.

“It’s not absolute. The Great Resignation is not definitely going to happen. But the environment is there for the potential of it,” she added. “So, there is an opportunity for employers to listen to their team to understand where they’re coming from, and to design a work environment that people want to be a part of.”

Renton said Australian businesses had so far been able to stave off the start of a Great Resignation due to ongoing waves of COVID-19, which has helped maintain the status quo.

“I think the point that we’ll see this tension is when business leaders possibly try to go back to the historical way of working, but employees for almost two years have experienced a different way of working—and the Great Resignation is when that tension comes,” she said.

Another factor that has given employees greater bargaining power is the dramatic cut to migration since the pandemic began in April 2020, a situation that has left businesses scrambling for talent.

“The workforce that is within Australia is the workforce that is here. Therefore, it is a bit more of an employee’s market than an employers’ market,” Renton said.

She conceded that Australia was unlikely to be hit by the Great Resignation to the same level as the United States, which saw millions resign over the course of 2021.

Tanveer Ahmed, a clinical psychiatrist, said the trend was a “big negotiating tool” for employees.

“I think a lot of people won’t always want to leave their current job if they can tweak some of the things they feel like they’re not getting,” he told The Epoch Times.

Ahmed said the impact of the Great Resignation would be “less marked” because fewer Australians had been impacted by deaths from COVID-19—a situation that has pushed individuals in the United Kingdom and the United States to reassess their current values and needs.

“Even our economy doesn’t necessarily lend itself to the same levels [of the Great Resignation],” he said.

“Its more pronounced in professional service economies—it’s much harder if you’re in a physical job—so there’s a degree of middle-class privilege,” he added. “But you look beyond the key areas of Sydney and Melbourne, and it’s not necessarily a big service economy.”

Daniel Y. Teng

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