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The warning signs were there, now the “Great Resignation” is upon us.


The warning signs were there, now the “Great Resignation” is upon us. The warning signs were there, now the “Great Resignation” is upon us.

Key Takeaways

  • The “Great Resignation” phenomenon is happening as people who sheltered in jobs during quarantine are now ready to make a move for more meaningful work and control over their future.
  • The 2020 Talent Insights report predicted that nearly 50% of talent were looking to leave their jobs in the next 3–6 months, and 88% were actively seeking or open to a new job despite economic downturn.
  • Poor leadership during the COVID crisis was cited as a reason by 45% of talent for leaving their previous jobs, highlighting the need for a new leadership approach.

As we all climb out of quarantine and things get back to whatever post-pandemic “normal” will be, the predicted avalanche of job resignations has arrived. People who were effectively “sheltering in job” for the past year and a half are ready to make their move. And to anyone who read the 2020 Talent Insights Report―our findings after surveying over 2,000 creative, marketing, design, and development professionals―this phenomenon will come as no surprise. Learn more about what talent told us to expect in 2021 and what actions you can take now to make sure you're prepared for 2022!

The Great Resignation

Anthony Klotz, an Associate Management Professor at Texas A&M University, coined the phrase “Great Resignation.” He predicted that people who stayed put during the uncertainty of the pandemic are getting ready to jump ship or are already doing it now. A new generation of talent are realizing―due in part to the pandemic and economic fallout that resulted because of it―that there is no such thing as job security. This has led them to seek more meaningful work and want to take more control of their future.

Surprising then. Totally understandable now.

Last October, our 2020 Talent Insights Report revealed that nearly 50% of talent said they were looking to leave their jobs in the next three to six months. So, if you were reading it in an office, we would say, look at the person to your left, then look at the person to your right, one of those people will probably not be working there in 6 months. (Right now, you may still be working from home, so your refrigerator will probably still be there in 6 months, but you get the point.) It's important to point out that we believe this massive shifting of the talent sands will play out for some time. The report also found that 88% of talent were actively seeking or open to a new job in 2020, despite the economic downturn. That's pretty much everyone, so get ready for the biggest game of career musical chairs ever.

What do we want? New leadership!

Not to kick them when they're down, but it's time to take a closer look at what it means to be a successful manager and leader. We found that nearly 44% of talent were less than satisfied with their manager's leadership during the COVID crisis, and 45% of talent cited poor leadership as the reason they left their last job. Though we recognize that the pandemic has been incredibly difficult for managers, clearly a new leadership approach is required. Talent crave leaders who understand what they value. For example, the desire to work remotely—some (hybrid) or all of the time—rose from 59% in 2019 to 80% in 2020.

You're on report!

Before you call us a bunch of know-it-alls, even we have been surprised at how closely 2021 is playing out against the findings in last year's report. But our clients have been happy for the advance warning, it gives them a much clearer picture of the talent and employment landscape. Something that will be more important in the year ahead, when you may not even be able to work in the same office as your staff.

You can also download the 2020 Talent Insights Report here. Even though we are already halfway to next year, there's still a lot more to unfold in 2021!