- Over the past few months, as the pandemic has appeared to have run its course and businesses have started to develop greater confidence to return to pre-2020 ways of working,
- A new phenomenon has swept through the United States and some countries in Europe.
- Unexpectedly large numbers of people are embracing the credo of “antiwork”, and walking out of their jobs.
- A record 4.3 million people resigned in August, up 242,000 from July, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
- And just a year after the US saw the highest rate of unemployment since the Great Depression, the quit rate — number of quits in a month as a percentage of total employment— rose to a series high of 2.9% in the bureau’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary.
- The American psychologist Anthony Klotz has called it the “Great Resignation” — a call to remap priorities in the work-life equation.
Who is quitting and why?
- A report in The Washington Post last month noted that the record quit numbers of August “expands to 20 million if measured back to April”.
- While those opting out of work include, prominently, employees in the retail and hospitality sectors, many were willing to switch jobs or to re-evaluate their options.
- The quit trend was seen elsewhere too, The Post report said.
- Nearly 14 million have exited the labour market in OECD countries, and are classified as “not working” and “not looking for work”.
- Many countries in Central and Eastern Europe, and in Germany have recorded a fall in the skilled labour force; this, however, could be due to stronger social safety nets, the report said.
What safety nets?
- As the pandemic effects are subsiding, and things are returning to the pre-2020 era, people seem more confident about leaving their jobs to find better opportunities.
- Since this phenomenon is visible in developed countries, people could also be leaving their jobs due to improved social security and unemployment benefits, which kicked in after the pandemic.
- A Forbes report, however, argues that the reason for Great Resignation is actually very simple.
- The report said it’s simply a demand and supply issue, as jobs started to return due to the weakening of the pandemic.
- There were 10.4 million available jobs in August 2021 in the US, while the figure for unemployed people in the same month was 7.4 million, the report mentioned.
- Also there are reports that says, to entice new workers to come on board, and to dissuade current workers from jumping ship,
- Many companies are offering material perks like higher salaries, flexible hours, and remote work stipends.
Is India affected?
- Coming to India, the arguments of unemployment or social security benefits do not hold water.
- More importantly, people are not rushing to quit their jobs here since the employment market in India is completely different from the western countries.
- It is also not clear whether a large number of jobs which were lost due to the pandemic are returning.
- But interesting post-pandemic trends are visible,
- “Remote working has made it possible for corporates and employees to have flexible work models.
- If in the past companies had planned for opening offices in Tier II and III towns, today it is becoming a reality because the pandemic has shifted our spatial economy.
- There are diffusions now with higher migrations and jobs are moving to people, more than the other way around.
Q) Workers temporarily unemployed but who normally find jobs quickly are called?
- Frictionally unemployed
- Cyclically unemployed
- Seasonally unemployed
- Structurally unemployed.