Don’t be inundated by the big wave of resignation
When a British pilot named Paul Green lost his job last year, he did what so many other airline workers have been doing since the pandemic shattered his industry: something completely unexpected.
Green settled down to advice to teach business leaders how to use the skills they had honed in the cockpit to manage stress and make decisions under duress. NHS front-line workers have proven to be their first customers. Like many of the pilots who found themselves suddenly driving trucks, piling up supermarket shelves or opening coffee, Green hopes to get back to the end of the flying career he’d wanted since his childhood – but not like he did before.
“The lifestyle of the flight wasn’t good,” he told me last week. “I’m married, I have two children and the amount of time I was away from home, missing significant parts of my children growing up, was a real dilemma.” Ideally, he hopes to find a way to mix the part-time flight with the new company he runs from his home in Somerset.
“Flying is what I like to do,” he said. “But I think the biggest thing for everyone right now is, at what cost do I want to follow this dream that I had once, when life can be better than the other side?”
He doesn’t seem to be the only one asking such questions. There are growing signs that the world’s employees want a change after 15 turbulent months of pandemic added working life.
A record 4m Americans left their jobs in April, the most since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began publishing such data in December 2000. More than 40 percent of the world’s workforce is ready. to resign at some point this year, Microsoft research he demonstrated. Just under 40 per cent of the UK and Irish workers say they will do the same this year, or once the economy is stronger.
Are they real? Who knows? Similarly, it is difficult to know exactly what causes what some call the Great Resignation. Pent-up demand could be a factor. People who were in jobs they hated during last year’s chaos might feel more courageous to move this year. Burn-out could be another reason. Most of the 31,000 workers in the thirty countries covered in the Microsoft study said they feel overworked and that 39 percent feel “exhausted”. They spent more than twice as much time in Microsoft Teams meetings, which lasted an average of 10 minutes longer, and sent billions of emails more to customers. Perhaps not surprisingly, the white-collar professional and business services sector has supported one of the largest increases in resignation in the United States.
The big question is whether these exits, which come on top of the low prevalence of labor, suggest that a fundamental shift in power between workers and employers is underway.
I am skeptical. The sudden lack of staff has arisen since restaurants and hotels have reopened all at once. Let’s see what life is like once the Covid-19 restrictions end and economic activity returns to a firmer path.
Even in the battered airline industry, enrollment in flight schools is growing again, especially in markets where recoveries are picking up, aviation training groups L3Harris and CAE told me last week. For any older pilot who leaves, in other words, there is likely to be at least one new famine in an industry that British aviation consultant John Strickland rightly says has an infinite number of people “desperately” willing to get into it.
Having said that, the airline industry is different from many others. Employers who think they can send staff back to their office desks like that nothing has changed since 2019 could be in a shock.
Last week, dating app group Bumble said it would give its staff a week off to recharge. The US HubSpot program group is planning a Global Week of Rest for its workers from 5 July. Many employers introduce flexible, hybrid systems of work while reopening. He’s smart.
A lot of executives have spent just 15 months building what McKinsey senior partner Bill Schaninger calls “a pool of goodwill” with employees. As he said a work conference last week, that basin should not have been squandered with “a shameful desire to return to what it was.”