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Is Europe's labour market going through The Great Stagnation?

While 55% European workers say they are looking for another job, we can see a stagnation in the number of actual job changes throughout the continent. It begs the question: as a record-number of people are quitting in the US, is Europe going through The Great Stagnation?

Jasper Spanjaart on December 06, 2021 Average reading time: 3 min
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Is Europe's labour market going through The Great Stagnation?

The United States is still caught up in an en masse departure fiasco. The Great Resignation has led to a record-breaking number of US workers saying sayonara to their respective employers. In May, roughly 3.63 million workers quit their jobs at a 2.5% rate. In August, that number has gone up to 4.27 million, at a 3% clip.

Randstad’s 2021 Workmonitor shows that the majority of respondents surveyed (54%) expressed feeling poorly compensated for their skills — and are therefore looking for another job.

In 2020, Microsoft surveyed more than 30,000 workers worldwide, in an attempt to find out what the consensus was among them. In total, they found that 41% considered either quitting or changing professions altogether. Now, Randstad’s 2021 Workmonitor shows that the majority of respondents surveyed (54%) expressed feeling poorly compensated for their skills — and are therefore looking for another job.

European workers are feeling least empowered and stressed

Those surveyed in the Asia Pacific, Latin American and Northern American regions were all outspoken about their new-found, pandemic-led empowerment to make changes to their work-life balance. “In just two years, people’s habits have permanently changed, and a return to pre-pandemic ways probably won’t happen for some time, if at all”, Randstad adds

In northwestern Europe, 57% of workers feel empowered to make changes to their work-life balance.

But for some reason, Europeans are less sure. In northwestern Europe, 57% of workers feel empowered to make changes to their work-life balance. The overall empowerment statistic is much higher in other regions of the world. In Asia Pacific region, that number lies at 77%. In Latin America, 79%. And in North America, 71%.

The European regions amassed the lowest overall scores in the stress category.

Globally, 49% of those surveyed reported feeling more stressed than before the pandemic and plan to make changes to their work-life balance. The problem was reported to be most acute in the Asia Pacific region, with 63% feeling this way. Remarkably, the European regions (eastern, northwestern and southern Europe) amassed the lowest overall scores in the stress category. Europe only scores an average of 44% in the stress column, with Northwestern Europe scoring a mere 39%. The same applies to wanting more job and career flexibility. Scores in Europe again lie lower than other regions of the world.

‘The Great Resignation would seem very un-European’

Despite recording record-breaking quits, only 50% of those in North America say they are looking for another job in Randstad’s survey. Both Eastern and Southern Europe actually score higher than their Northern American counterparts at 58%. Meanwhile, 45% of those surveyed in Northwestern Europe say they are looking for another job. 

Source: Randstad’s Work Monitor 2021

Eastern Europe saw its actual job change drop by 2% compared to 2020. Job change in northwestern and southern Europe, meanwhile, stagnated completely.

The research also looked at actual job change. While it saw the percentages climb in both the APAC, Latin and indeed Northern America — actual job change has actually stagnated or dropped in Europe. Eastern Europe saw its actual job change drop by 2% compared to 2020. Job change in northwestern and southern Europe, meanwhile, stagnated completely.

“We all know that expressed intentions aren’t quite the same as the actual act of quitting.”

So far, The Great Resignation hasn’t blown over to Europe. And it illustrates an interesting difference between the two continents: while Europeans may say want to quit, they aren’t acting on it as much. “We all know that expressed intentions aren’t quite the same as the actual act of quitting”, European labour market expert Wim Davidse told ToTalent in July

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Jasper Spanjaart

Jasper Spanjaart

Editor-in-Chief and Writer at ToTalent.eu
Editor-in-Chief and writer for European Total Talent Acquisition platform ToTalent.eu.
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