Where Have All The Employees Gone?


By Jennifer Jacobus, PHRca, SDEA Director of HR Services

It’s been over two years since the pandemic and people are still resigning from jobs and employers still have open positions that they are unable to fill.  Employers are struggling to attract and keep employees around as staff members leave for other jobs where they could make more money, be less stressed, have more flexibility, or not be part of a toxic office.  52% of all small business owners said that it has gotten harder to find qualified people to hire compared to a year ago, according to a recent CNBC/ SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey.

Smaller employers are more likely to struggle to recover from the business impacts of the pandemic, and while they are scraping by, the larger competitor is able to offer higher salaries, better benefits and more perks.  But is this what is most important to workers? 

In a recent Gallup study, 13,085 U.S. employees were asked what was most important to them when deciding whether to accept a new job.

Probably not surprisingly, 64% responded that a “significant increase in income or benefits” was “very important”. However, 61% reported that a greater work-life balance and better personal wellbeing was very important.  The importance of work-life balance and wellbeing have notably increased, with 53% of employees citing them as “very important” in 2015 compared with 61% of today’s workforce.

58% reported that the ability to do what they do best is important.  Gallup reported that, “when people have the opportunity to do work they are naturally gifted at and trained to do, they enjoy their work, find it stimulating, and want to do more of it. Unsurprisingly, this item remains one of the most important for workers. Workers who aren’t allowed to use their strengths very often seek jobs where they can; workers who do get to use their strengths seek out jobs where they get to use them even more.”

53% of respondents sought greater stability and job security; 43% reported that they wanted COVID-19 vaccination policies to align with their beliefs; and 42% are looking for organizations that are diverse and inclusive of all types of people.

Join SDEA on July 22 for a Roundtable on Staff Retention and another on August 12 on the Future of Recruiting.  This roundtable is co-sponsored by GigTalent.



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