For much of the workforce, 2022 has been a time for fresh starts. In January, a record-breaking 4.3 million employees quit their jobs — the eighth consecutive month with over 4 million workers leaving their roles. Since then, the trend has only continued, with February and March showing similar numbers.
But what’s driving the change? We’ve all heard anecdotal evidence suggesting the pandemic spurred many to reconsider their relationships with work, or perhaps even their chosen career path. Others suggest workers are simply pursuing higher wages.
The actual reasons may be more nuanced than that. Lattice surveyed 2,000 employees in the U.S. and Europe to better understand the Great Resignation and its causes. Just who are these workers, and what are their motivations? Here are some of our key takeaways. For more detailed findings, reach out to [email protected].
1. The Great Resignation is only accelerating.
If you think the worst is over for businesses, think again. The data suggests that the Great Resignation hasn’t even hit its stride.
We found that nearly three-quarters (74%) of US employees are either actively looking or are open to new opportunities in the next 6-12 months. When we surveyed the same subset of employees last fall, just 47% were. Younger generations seem to be particularly keen on evaluating their options:
- 60% of Gen Z employees reported they are actively looking
- 50% of millennials are actively looking
In comparison, just 33% of US employees aged 45-54 are looking. Things are even more volatile in the UK, where employees are more likely (53%) than US employees (45%) to report that they are actively looking for a new role.
2. Younger workers value more than money.
Pursuit of higher wages might contribute to some of the shift, but it’s hardly the lead driver — especially among younger workers. Compared to Gen Z, older workers in the US (Gen X and boomers) are 25% more likely to view compensation as extremely important when evaluating jobs. The difference was nearly identical in the UK.
So what are younger workers looking for? For starters, career growth and guidance. 41% of millennials rated opportunities for mentorship as extremely important. Only 18% of boomers shared that sentiment. Similarly, “opportunities for career advancement” ranked as extremely important to a greater majority of Millennials (59%) than Boomers (43%) or Gen X (48%).
Beyond compensation and growth, younger workers are looking for something more personal: A place where they belong. Compared to boomers, Gen Z and millennials were twice as likely to state “lack of belonging” as a reason to pursue other opportunities. These findings suggest that it takes more than dollars and lucrative promotions to retain top talent in the current job climate.
3. Over half of new hires are looking.
Call it an unwritten rule among new hires: If you want to change jobs, you need to “tough it out” for at least a year in your current role.
Our data shows that this notion may be a thing of the past. In the US, 52% of employees with tenures of 3 months or less are looking to leave. Nearly 60% of employees with 3-6 month tenures are trying to do the same. The trend is even starker in the UK, where 65% of employees with 3-6 month tenures are looking. Overall, the most at-risk employees have been at their companies for 7-11 months.
For recruiters and jobseekers, the findings may offer a lesson: Look before you leap. For recruiters eager to fill seats quickly, it’s as important now as ever to carefully evaluate candidates. On the other end of the table, job seekers must think holistically about what they’re looking for and whether the companies they’re considering are truly a fit for them.
Those are just some of the findings from our resignation survey. For a deeper dive into the data, please contact [email protected]. You can also read our report, The State of People Strategy to learn more about turnover trends and how HR teams can respond.