The Great Resignation of 2021 was a seismic shift in the workforce landscape, with millions of employees leaving their jobs in pursuit of better opportunities and a more fulfilling work-life balance. This unprecedented movement sparked curiosity among employers and experts to understand the underlying motivations behind this exodus. To gain insight into the trends and opportunities arising from this workforce movement, the Cengage Group surveyed workers who had resigned in 2021 and successfully found new jobs by the following year. The results were eye-opening, revealing crucial factors that drove employees to leave their positions and the significant implications for the tech sector.
- A company’s mission and values matter to employees
- Employees who feel stuck in their careers will look for other places to work.
- On the other side of the “coin”, employees who see a clear pathway to promotion are more apt to stay
- They do not look back with regrets. They are very happy with their decision to leave.
- Salary is not always the biggest priority for professionals, but it is a factor.
What Do Employees Place a Priority On Now?
1. Alignment with Company Mission and Values:
A staggering 34 percent of respondents cited a misalignment between their company’s mission and their personal values as the reason for leaving their jobs. This highlights the growing importance of a values-driven workplace culture. Employees today seek not only financial stability but also a sense of purpose and meaning in their work. To attract and retain top talent, companies must prioritize articulating a clear and compelling mission that resonates with their employees’ core beliefs.
2. Opportunities for Growth and Development:
Almost a quarter of respondents (24 percent) felt trapped in their roles, with no visible avenues for growth and advancement within their industry. Employees, especially those in the tech sector, are highly ambitious and motivated by opportunities to learn and progress. Employers need to prioritize career development initiatives, such as training programs, mentorship, and internal mobility, to retain their talent and prevent stagnation.
3. Pursuit of Companies with Clear Growth Trajectory:
A significant 30 percent of respondents switched to companies that offered a clear path to growth and development. This finding reiterates the importance of showcasing a company’s vision for the future and its commitment to employee success. Tech companies, in particular, should emphasize their innovative projects and expansion plans to attract top-notch talent seeking professional growth.
4. Value-Based Mission Alignment in New Companies:
Interestingly, 27 percent of respondents mentioned that their decision to leave was motivated by the fact that the mission of their new company aligned more closely with their personal values. This indicates that employees are willing to take a leap of faith for a company whose principles resonate with their own. Employers should emphasize their organizational values during recruitment to appeal to candidates seeking a values-driven work environment.
5. Minimal Regrets and High Job Satisfaction:
A striking 81 percent of respondents expressed having no regrets about quitting their previous jobs, underscoring the significance of the choices they made during the Great Resignation. Moreover, an overwhelming 85 percent stated that they were satisfied with their new roles, indicating that the risk of resigning was well worth the reward of finding a better-suited job.
6. Industry Hopping:
The Great Resignation saw a significant shift in industries, with 50 percent of respondents completely switching sectors. Notably, 21 percent of those who changed jobs during this period migrated to the tech sector, making it the most preferred destination. This trend showcases the appeal of tech companies as employers of choice, and it is essential for other sectors to adapt and offer competitive advantages to attract and retain talent.
7. Professional Development:
Almost one-third (29 percent) of tech workers who resigned did so in pursuit of better professional development opportunities elsewhere. This indicates that tech companies are highly sought-after for their commitment to nurturing employee growth. Other industries can learn from the tech sector’s emphasis on continuous learning and advancement opportunities to boost employee loyalty and retention.
8. Salary Is/Was Not the Primary Driver:
Surprisingly, only 14 percent of respondents cited a higher salary as the reason for leaving their previous jobs. This finding underscores the importance of non-monetary factors in employee satisfaction and loyalty. While competitive compensation remains crucial, organizations should focus on creating a holistic work environment that prioritizes purpose, growth, and values to retain top talent.
So Why Does This Data Matter?
The Great Resignation of 2021 provided valuable insights into what employees truly want in their work lives. It revealed that alignment with a company’s mission and values, growth opportunities, and a clear path to development are essential factors in attracting and retaining talent. The tech sector, in particular, emerged as a frontrunner in the race for top talent due to its emphasis on professional development and innovation. As we move forward, companies across all industries must adapt and incorporate these learnings to build a workforce that is engaged, fulfilled, and dedicated to achieving organizational success.
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