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The Great Resignation

Great resignation

Monday, November 8, 2021

We’ve all noted obvious impacts of the pandemic. These include our need to adapt to altered working patterns and locations, awareness of wellbeing and monitoring of mental health, where best to put the laptop for the best light and avoidance of your clutter in the background and a greater appreciation of our families and open spaces.

During various periods of isolation in lockdown’s we’ve also had time to reflect, and it’s apparent careers, job satisfaction and new found urgency to achieve an improved work/ life balance featured strongly.

How do we know this?

Companies are reporting a dramatic increase in vacancies with large volumes of staff handing in their notice.  This appears to be not only a sector-wide trend in the UK but a global phenomenon.  Evan Sohn CEO of US recruitment platform quoted statistics from businesses in the United States.  “Within the technology sector churn rates of 2% have escalated to 15% in a very short period, the need to back-fill positions is now business critical.”

The US has seen 1.1 million women simply not return to the workplace and in the UK in August we had that same number of vacancies 1.1 million, the highest figure since records began.

The working population has re-prioritised and resigned, as Evan calls it The Great Resignation.  We’re entering a period when longevity in a position is no longer considered a positive but more likely a sign of being “stuck”, risk averse and not growing.  The younger generations have taken the lead with seeking experiential opportunities and the older generations are starting to “get it” and consider that maybe there’s more to life than that 9-5 they seem to be constantly moaning about.

Of course, not every job is boring, unsupported, or overly challenging but having spent longer than ever before online during the pandemic heads have been turned and inspired by thoughts of exciting new ventures either going into business themselves or re-training to follow their passion.  Who can blame anyone for following a dream?

Add to the mix the average tenure for a Baby Boomer used to be 10 years, *Millennials are now nearer 2 years and Gen Z between 1 and 2 years.   It’s not all about the money, position, and job title for these generations its personal growth and fulfilment.

Not only has the average tenure reduced dramatically but the companies that the candidates wish to work for will need to meet an expectation for ethics and employee support.

But where does this leave the employers, the companies up and down the country suddenly facing a huge backlog of vacancies to fill and a dearth of fresh new talent?

It’s time to consider that this may well become the new normal and recruitment as you knew it has changed, certainly expectations of how long you can expect any candidate to remain with you once appointed.

  1. Re-calibrate your organisational expectations for staff tenure and work with employees, encourage open discussions around career goals and assist them on their journey rather than attempt to contain their ambitions.
  2. Actively employ mentoring to assist in (1.) and highlight how a longer tenure may offer opportunities not previously considered.
  3. If not actioned build an active and supportive alumni
  4. Avoid complacency and seek out networks, universities, communities who could be offering future resources.
  5. Consider broadening the scope of required skills and reducing levels of experience required. Bright candidates will learn fast and soon gain the highly prized experience through your business.

*Deloitte survey, 43% of millennials plan to leave their jobs within two years.

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