The Great Resignation is Upon Us

It’s happening.

People have had it and they’re dropping their jobs like a bad habit. 18 months of downsizing, ill treatment and growing workloads have finally tipped the scale. 18 months of working from home and people have learned there’s a better life to be had. 18 months of watching your coworkers get sick and die because Scrooge McDuck didn’t provide paid sick days.

People are saying: “Fuck it!”

The chart below shows the huge increase in the level of quits in the worst hit sectors in the United States: manufacturing, leisure & hospitality and accommodation & food services. I’d expect to see a similar trend in Canada. These were the front-line workers. The war heroes who were cheered as they put their families’ health on the line, only to get shit on in the end.

People have realized it’s not worth staying loyal to an employer that pays garbage, doesn’t care and treats staff as disposable.

Moreover, people built cash piles over the past year as they sat home twiddling their thumbs. Now that the economy is roaring, people are confident enough to make moves.

Of course, now that people are quitting suddenly companies are scrambling. Positions are unfillable.

Just over the past week alone I’ve witnessed 2 top employees quit and 2 offers fall apart. Companies are getting more short-staffed by the day.

Still, I think the brunt of the departures are in the sectors shown in the chart above. While the business services sector is turning over quicker than normal, many of these workers were well supported (and still are) during the pandemic. Many white-collar employers are baking work-life flexibility into their DNA. For example, Sun Life Financial just announced a permanent flex work arrangement (i.e. WFH if you want to). Manulife has been flexible for years. Other big Canadian employers are doing the same.

Nevertheless, white collar employers are feeling the pressure. They’re just doing a better job at proactively mitigating their risk. Despite how hard they’re trying, these companies are still facing new competition. This is particularly true for companies with head offices in Toronto, as big tech firms open offices in the city adding new competition for talent.

Bottom line: it’s an employees market. Regardless of where you work, now might be a good time to ask for a raise.

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