“The Great Resignation.”

from Maudlin Economics,

If you’re an American worker, you probably have a new job, or you’re looking for a new job, or you at least want a new job. Pundits call all this shuffling “The Great Resignation.” The pandemic caused it, they say.

COVID-19 certainly sparked changes, but some of this was already happening. For one, the working-age population is starting to decline, so employers would face a smaller labor pool even without the virus. Add in the other factors and it’s no wonder hiring is hard. But the difficulty of finding new workers can be small compared to the costs of losing longtime workers, along with their experience and relationships. It’s not just about pay and benefits. Many workers want something else… something their current employers don’t offer. Maybe because the employers can’t offer it. They’re too big.

people really want three things: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Pink says “if-then” motivators (commissions, bonuses, etc.) actually reduce productivity in many occupations. Yet employers keep using them.

... the pandemic [put] this trend on overdrive. Among many other ill effects, COVID-19 very efficiently demolished millions of small businesses. At the same time, some large companies like Amazon (AMZN) saw revenues skyrocket. This wasn’t entirely unfair. The situation simply rewarded organizations with scale. ... it produced an environment in which big companies mint profits and small businesses have to fight over crumbs. Part of that is fighting for workers.

In today’s environment, the large businesses best positioned to thrive financially are often the worst positioned to retain motivated, enthusiastic teams. This generates frustration: Managers can’t find the workers they need, and workers think (often correctly) their companies don’t value them as individuals. I’d like to say time will solve this, but given the demographics, I’m not sure it will.

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