- There is now research that can explain why the shift in American work priorities has occurred and how employers might be able to improve employee retention.
- Workers are dissatisfied with their jobs; they don’t feel like they are paid fairly, or that they have good enough benefits.
- Most workers can be enticed to stay at their jobs through increased compensation.
The Great Resignation signifies a time when many workers are leaving their jobs.
For a long time, however, the inferences available to us based upon the Great Resignation were neutral as to what these newly non-employed workers were doing with their time.
However, such neutrality was only on account of lacking sufficient data. Currently, by contrast, there is good data suggesting that most American workers are seeking new work.
We now have research that can explain why this shift in American work priorities has occurred and how employers might be able to improve employee retention.
In short, workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. They don’t feel like they are paid fairly, or that they have good enough benefits (in more than half of cases they don’t), or that their work is meaningful.
However, most workers can be enticed to stay at their jobs through increased compensation.
What are the great resigners doing with their time?
Back in November, there was very little on what great resigners were doing with their time. Hence, at the time, it was hypothesized in an Allwork.Space report that:
- they’ve either found work,
- they are looking for work
- they began freelancing
- they are educating themselves to acquire new skills for better work
- they’re doing nothing
At the time, there wasn’t enough data to quantify these potential outcomes. What was clear back then – as it is still clear now – is that most Americans were not satisfied with their jobs. However, times have changed and data has arisen.
According to research conducted by Business.com, 61% of American workers are seeking or planning to find new jobs. That is, more than 60% of American workers are looking for new work.
This gives us a better picture of what great resigners are doing with their time. One need not quit their job just yet to be part of the Great Resignation – if anything, keeping your job while looking for a new one is the right way to go about things.
What is causing increases in the job-seeking population?
Initial reports as to the motivations behind the Great Resignation argued that the primary motivation of workers leaving their jobs in droves was seeking greater flexibility, income, benefits, autonomy, and respect.
These reports are consistent with current reports. According to the business.com study, “Only 36% of American workers believe they’re compensated fairly and 31% feel they are doing meaningful work.”
In other words, most Americans don’t believe they are being compensated fairly, and most Americans don’t feel like they are doing meaningful work. Roughly half of Americans are satisfied with their job, and the other half are unsatisfied – the latter of whom being the major subset of Americans now looking for new work.
What makes Americans most satisfied with their jobs?
Competitive pay is by far the most crucial component to job satisfaction for American workers. However, as the Business.com study states,
Yet money alone cannot buy happiness or employee satisfaction. The workers in our study also cited time off, health insurance, schedule flexibility, and positive environment among the most important factors for job satisfaction.
Earlier reports on the great resignation determined that meaningful work was the most crucial component for job satisfaction. However, the business.com study determined that competitive pay is nearly twice as important to job satisfaction as a job’s meaningfulness is.
Likewise, health insurance paid leave, and vacation time is moderately more important to job satisfaction than meaningfulness is.
What is clear is that most people are disengaged and dissatisfied with their jobs due in large part to the fact that they aren’t meaningful to them. However, despite this, other factors supersede meaningfulness, and those factors are generally practical.
Just because your job isn’t meaningful to you doesn’t mean it has to be unsatisfying.
How can employers entice employees?
Given the importance of competitive pay and worker benefits to job satisfaction rates, it’s fair to infer that employers can use these factors to entice employees to remain at their job or to return after having quit.
Additionally, reports from employees themselves confirm this inference. “Higher pay, better benefits, or improved work environment could entice 88% of these job seekers to stay with their current company.”
Only 12% of workers say that they can’t be enticed to stay with their current employer. 74% of respondents say that they can be enticed by increased compensation.
Most American workers are looking for new jobs. Compensation is the most significant factor in job satisfaction, and most Americans feel that they are not being fairly compensated.
Considering that millions of positions remain unfilled and that the Great Resignation is still underway, it would be prudent on the part of employers to heed this data. Workers will stay at their jobs if they are given better pay and benefits.
Compensation is the most significant factor in job satisfaction. If employers want to turn the Great Resignation into improved rates of worker retention, increasing wages and benefits across the board would be the wisest strategy for doing so.