- The pandemic has created an economy and environment in which job seekers finally have the upper hand.
- This phenomenon of workers always looking for the next best job opportunity has been dubbed “The Great Flirtation.”
- Workers are on the hunt for better job opportunities simply because there are so many tempting options. Such as with dating apps like Tinder or Bumble, there are an overwhelming number of prospective choices.
People are on the professional move – millions upon millions, in fact.
The pandemic has created an economy and environment in which job seekers finally have the upper hand.
The Great Resignation is a product of shifting priorities, and workers are demanding better for themselves; better working conditions, better flexibility, better pay, and better benefits.
Millions of workers across industries have left their jobs (about 35 million in 2021) – and millions more are contemplating quitting as well. In fact, nearly three-quarters of workers are actively thinking about quitting their job.
Before the pandemic, workers didn’t have as much luxury. Now, companies and employers are experiencing an unprecedented labor shortage. As many global economies grow, businesses are struggling to keep up as they expand, causing workers to be in high demand.
Essentially, the pandemic created a sellers’ market where potential workers can afford to be picky because they have more leverage than ever before.
Job seekers have been able to take their pick of the litter, and one-click job sites like LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter have made it incredibly easy to apply to jobs with minimal effort.
The Great Resignation is leading to The Great Flirtation
This phenomenon of workers always looking for the next best job opportunity has been dubbed “The Great Flirtation.” Workers now have a constant wandering eye to other openings, regardless of how long they’ve been in a role or how content they are in their current job.
These workers might not necessarily be dissatisfied with their current positions – they just want to flirt with new opportunities.
But the question is, in a labor market that favors workers, is constantly flirting with other openings the right approach to help workers stay happy or to get into better positions?
Historically, it’s been thought that it’s best to stay in a role for as long as possible – the idea being that staying in a role for a prolonged time period fosters company loyalty, pension contributions, promotions, and career advancements.
Now, workers aren’t so sure.
Previously, American workers’ median job tenure steadily rose from 3.5 years in the 1980s to 4.4 years in the 2000s, before slightly dipping at the end of the past decade, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
People stayed in their current jobs until they got fired, realized there was no room for growth, experienced workplace conflict, or were offered a job with another company, etc.
Now, workers are on the hunt for better job opportunities simply because there are so many tempting options. Such as with dating apps like Tinder or Bumble, there are an overwhelming number of prospective choices.
Workers are re-evaluating their lives and careers, and are now more confident and open to making moves. They’ve started looking for jobs that better match the work set-ups they want, particularly the option for remote and flexible work.
Job-hopping still might be a concern to hiring managers
While workers can take advantage of businesses that are scrambling for talent, there are still limits to The Great Flirtation. Exploiting the hot job market and maximizing opportunity might sound pretty good, but there is a stigma around job-hopping.
“You can see managers’ concerns with job-hopping, that someone isn’t committed or likely to stick around. They still have a bias against it, because past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior,” said Mark Bolino, director of management and international business at the University of Oklahoma.
The pandemic has changed the way society thinks though, and gaps in work history and frequent profession changes are beginning to see more leniency.
Workers are experiencing commitment issues
While some people prefer to grow at a company, others find staying too long can be restrictive.
According to a recent study from Skynova, 29% of workers surveyed could be classified as job-hoppers, having switched jobs in the past two years for one reason or another.
Among them, millennials were the most likely to jump ship early on with Gen Zers not too far behind. Baby boomers seemed to be most loyal to their companies, as only 18% of them had recently job-hopped.
Respondents who job-hopped saw an average salary increase of 23%, and among respondents who job-hopped, seeking new challenges was the most common reason.
Almost one-quarter of respondents believed it would only be acceptable to quit after putting in a full year at a company; although a fair few believed workers should feel free to put their two weeks in at any time.
Younger people are often much more open to taking risks and finding the right professional fit before settling down somewhere for the long haul.
Now, in the wake of the massive and unprecedented upheaval in the job industry, younger generations are especially interested in job mobility and schedule flexibility, and they’ll happily test the market until they find a job that fits their work-life balance needs.