We’ve seen our fair share of greats in the past 150 years, but they used to be earmarked for actual occurrences. As we once saw the The Great War followed by The Great Depression, these were events of global impact that rightfully carried the name great. The 1960s even produced one of the greatest films of all time, the Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough-led The Great Escape.
Greats are being born everywhere at a rate that would make Alexander the Great blush.
Now, we’re amidst a bundle of greats. They’re being born everywhere at a rate that would make Alexander the Great blush. Within the past pandemic-filled years months alone, we’ve taken to great and not let go. The Great Lockdown, naturally, ensued. The World Economic Forum gave birth to The Great Reset. Then there’s the The Great Shift. And, of course, in the world of recruitment, everyone was consumed by The Great Resignation.
In the footsteps of The Great Resignation
And in case you missed it: the United States is still caught up in an en masse departure fiasco that sees an average of more than 4 million Americans quit their jobs every month. Over a 25 year period, no year ever saw as many quits as 2021. So much wasn’t the case for Europe, where many talked about the idea of resigning, but very little actually did.
Job change in northwestern and southern Europe, meanwhile, stagnated completely.
Randstad’s 2021 Workmonitor saw the percentage of actual job change climb in both the APAC, Latin and indeed Northern America — but not in Europe. Job change has actually stagnated or decreased in most European areas. 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.
‘The Great Shuffle’
So what exactly is going on in European hemispheres? Labour markets around the continent have tightened up as jobs vacancies rise rapidly. “The Great Resignation is a nice headline grabber”, says recruiting expert Bill Boorman on an episode of Recruitment Revealed by Gary Berney. “I think it misleads what’s going on in the market. While we see unprecedented levels of resignations in organisations, people resigning are actually moving to [different] roles.”
“I think [The Great Resignation] misleads what’s going on in the market. I view it as The Great Shuffle, in which there will be some winners and losers.”
“It’s a more fluid market than perhaps we’ve seen in a lot of years”, Boorman continues. “So I view it as The Great Shuffle, in which there will be some winners and losers. I think that describes the market much better. And when you think about it strategically, it’s much more about how you’re organising your talent acquisition.”
What’s behind it?
Boorman sees several factors driving the The Great Shuffle. “I think people are knackered”, he says. “The impact of the COVID period saw many people performing two roles. Talent acquisition teams are smaller than they were pre-Covid, with significantly more amounts to deal with. I think people have put a lot of energy in a sort of survival mode, to get through the two years. Some people have done a lot, and now they’re ready for the next chapter, a new role.”
The idea of a next chapter is particularly visible among those with young families, Boorman notes. “They have had an enforced two year-period at home. Having previously spent most of their time away from families, have now gone: ‘Hang on a minute, I’m not going to go back to where I was’. They’re ready for a change.”
“Organisations who are having difficulties to hire are throwing out hail mary offers. With these breathtaking salaries that are on offer, now is the time when they’re at their premium.”
Perhaps ironically, Boorman sees the current recruitment desperateness as another major factor currently being overlooked in the shuffle kerfuffle. “Organisations who are having difficulties to hire are throwing out hail mary offers”, he said. “Offers with massive salary hikes. People are not stupid. They’re aware of the fact that this has a [certain duration] of time. With these breathtaking salaries that are on offer, now is the time when they’re at their premium.