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The Phenomenon Of The Great Resignation

Empty office chair and desk
September 13, 2022

Contributed by: CT&P.

The Great Resignation – the ever-growing exodus of people who decided, since 2021, to quit their job. This has led to the current staff shortage, affecting the global economy across all industries.

It’s been a little over a year since Anthony Klotz, a psychologist and Professor of Business Administration at Texas A&M University, coined a phrase destined to become famous when he stated that “the great resignation is coming”. Worldwide data indicates that his prediction was correct.

Just a few weeks after this affirmation, in the U.S. alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) reported that more than 4 million people had left their jobs by April 2021, the highest number in the past 20 years.

This trend has continued right though to today, and the phenomenon shows no signs of abating over the coming years either. The important thing to point out is that, in many cases, we are talking about people who leave their jobs without having an alternative lined up.


Without doubt the phenomenon has been a direct consequence of the two years spent under the influence of the health situation created by Covid 19, from 2020 to the beginning of 2022. This period gave many people the opportunity to review their work/life balance and realise that more flexible management of work and commuting, in line with their personal and family needs, has now become indispensable.

Those who have been able to return to work while maintaining a certain flexibility, alternating attendance on site and remote work, have found themselves in the best position. Many of those who were not granted this opportunity have faced a drastic choice: continue to work according to the old rules, or give up and resign. And many have opted for the latter, giving rise to a movement whose scale could not have been imagined.

But there is more to it than this. It is intimately linked to something deeper, a systematic review of our lifestyles and a quest for personal well-being that had long been neglected in the wholehearted pursuit of professional success.

After two very difficult years of uncertainty and enormous effort, many workers (at all levels) were left coping with nervous breakdowns, high levels of stress and other disorders. And all this, inevitably, has led to people revising the priorities in their lives, no longer putting work among the top concerns, and in many cases excluding it completely.

The phenomenon known as the great resignation must lead us to reflect, to rethink working environments and hours, the expectations of professionals and employees and, ultimately, the ability to create conditions that are rewarding both for new hires and for people who have been in the same work environment for some time.

This situation has also changed the competition to snap up the best talent, now a very different game compared to the past. Right now, employers are targeting people with traditional and less traditional skills, but also people who are not working at all.

To be able to compete, organisations must offer adequate wages and benefits but, above all, they must understand that the rules of play have changed.

While workers are demanding (and often obtaining) better compensation packages, at the same time, many of them are looking for more flexible forms of work, truly attainable results, a sense of community, and better human relationships in order to accept a return to “traditional” work.

Potential employers must take these factors into account and compete with them in mind, especially when targeting younger talent, if they hope to counteract this phenomenon and ensure that the great resignation trend does not become an inherent feature of the labour market.


Contributed by:

CT&P Capone Ticozzi Partners
Via Felice Casati, 20
20124 Milan