The latest jobs data shows the Great Resignation brought on by the pandemic is still ongoing, with a near-record high of 4.4 million Americans quitting in April despite growing recession fears.
One expert explains the reasoning behind the continued reshuffling, and warns that shortages in the labor market are likely to persist for a long time.
Julie Bauke, founder and chief career strategist with The Bauke Group, has a good handle on the perspective from both sides of the desk when it comes to employer-employee relationships after 25 years working in the sphere, and says the changes companies are seeing now are multilayered but largely inevitable – COVID just sped them up.
“There’s a mismatch between people and their skills and what they want to do, with the work that needs to be done,” Bauke told FOX Business, pointing to the many older, seasoned workers who retired early due to the pandemic.
Those so-called “boomers” left new generations of workers in their place who are refusing to fall in line the way their parents and grandparents did.
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“On top of that,” she continued, “you’ve got this demand that greatly outstrips the supply, which gives the younger generation leverage – and they’re not afraid to use it.”
Bauke says the high quit rates are now due in part to the impatience of workers and employers alike. Some workers wooed by salary increases have been too quick to jump ship and later regretted the move, while companies too eager to get bodies in the door to fill positions have not been choosey enough in their hiring.
A slowdown in the economy will likely rein in that impatience from both sides, with workers willing to stick with a job out of concern for not finding another one and employers easing off hiring to cut costs.
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But even if a recession hits, Bauke says the exodus of boomers from the workplace coupled with a younger generation more willing and able to start their own online business than work for “the man” means shortages will persist.
“The number of people out there looking for traditional jobs is still less than the amount needed,” she explained. “I do not see that changing for a long time, frankly, if ever. Because you can’t all of a sudden birth a bunch of adults to take the job.”
Bauke advises companies to not only be diligent in selecting candidates, but to treat current employees like the adults that they are in order to keep them – which has been difficult for some firms to do in this new climate where remote work and other flexibility attract more candidates.
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“The first thing you have to do is a novel concept called actually talk to your people and ask them what they want,” Bauke says, adding that senior leadership can often be oblivious to workers’ needs. “You have to engage, you’ve got to go from the top down to collaborate and communicate with your people and get them involved in your solution.”
She reiterated, “Your answers are among your people. They’re among the people doing the work.”