UCL School of Management

9 June 2023

Is the “Great Resignation” a thing of the past?

UCL School of Management Associate Professor Anthony Klotz, who is credited with coining the term “the Great Resignation,” was recently interviewed by Bloomberg for his take.

The Great Resignation refers to a significant shift in the labor market, marking a pivotal moment where workers gained unprecedented power and agency in determining their professional paths. It symbolises a time when employees, after years of relatively limited options, gained the upper hand in choosing their desired workplace, employer, and even the compensation they seek.

This phenomenon has granted workers a newfound sense of autonomy, enabling them to make decisions that align with their personal goals and preferences. As a result, the Great Resignation stands as a defining period in recent history, reflecting a paradigm shift where employees now hold greater control and influence over their career trajectories than they have in decades.

Anthony Klotz tells Bloomberg that the Great Resignation appears to be reaching its conclusion or entering its final phase across most industries. This is primarily due to three of the four psychological factors that were driving the phenomenon having largely played out.

These factors included:

  • Workers postponing their plans to quit during the Covid lockdown;
  • Leaving their jobs due to burnout caused by the pandemic;
  • Changing careers following a shift in lifestyle or values.

However, despite the overall decline, resignation rates remain relatively high compared to historical norms, with the desire for flexibility emerging as the fourth and ongoing factor behind these resignations.

He emphasises that flexible work has become one of the most valuable employee benefits, comparable to career development, retirement benefits, and pay. While efforts to retain employees through increased compensation and hybrid work arrangements have curbed resignations, the issue of flexibility continues to drive turnover.

Companies are still grappling with finding the right balance in terms of remote and in-person work, while workers seek organisations that offer policies aligned with their life stage. Anthony predicts that this trend will persist for a while longer.

Read the full Bloomberg interview

Last updated Monday, 12 June 2023