The pandemic caused a lot of confusion and uncertainty, particularly with job security. However, 2021 saw the highest record for job moves of 988,000, which is thought to be led by resignations rather than dismissals. So what was it about COVID which caused this surging interest in changing jobs and inspired The Great Resignation?

Of course, COVID caused many of us to stop and think about what is really important in our lives. Because of this, many of us placed importance on spending more time at home with our families and early retirement, or even retraining to finally do our dream job! Of 25,000 people surveyed on LinkedIn, 74% said that the pandemic had made them reconsider their job or career choice.

This shift in focus isn’t new to COVID, with historians pointing back to the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919, stating that there was a similar reassessment of the social and work environment, with many reassessing their options. It is typical for pandemics to cause drops in resignation rates alongside a rise in unemployment and demands for better work conditions, yet the COVID-19 pandemic saw a demand for all three. There was a huge surge in redundancies which was followed by a steep rise in resignation rates, whilst also seeing a demand for better working conditions, including the ever popular hybrid working model.

For the entrepreneurs among us, The Great Resignation inspired many people to set up their own businesses and start freelancing for themselves, with a huge rise of 32% of registered businesses in 2021. This can largely be due to our idea of success changing. It was once associated with having more money, success is now seen by many as working less and spending more time at home with loved ones. The work-life balance is hugely favoured, and being your own boss has never been more idealised, hence the rise in side hustles and freelancers.

Although self-employment can offer you the freedom to be your own boss and choose how you want to work, it can also bring stresses and responsibilities that you can’t leave in the office. Entrepreneurs have advised to figure out exactly what you want out of your working life before taking the jump to self employment.

With some of us seeking comfort in the traditional working environment and appreciating the support from working for a business, others are tired of being micromanaged and want to spread their wings and control their own work-life balance! What do you think of the current job market trends, and are you tempted to ditch the traditional corporate way of life and reach for your CEO desk plaque?

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