‘The Great Resignation’ is a term coined by the western media to define the massive number of workers quitting their jobs this year in Australia and the US. The extensive media reportage blamed work-from-home burnout and simply the need for change.
In India, more than 40 million people lost jobs in urban areas in April 2020, while the number in rural regions stood at over 73 million, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). These figures were due to job cuts brought on by the pandemic. Aside from this, corporates witnessed resignations, as “employees travelled to hometowns and found alternative jobs on their own turf, while many, exhausted by the pressures of working from home, just want a long break,” says Meena Chabbria, Associate Vice-President of PVR cinemas.
‘Career clarity’ too seems to have set in, says HR professional Divya Swapna Raj. “During the pandemic, people realised that life is fragile and that they really want to be doing what they enjoy while building their careers. Many senior level managers have opted to ease their schedules by transferring laterally. This way, they remain on a similar pay scale but the job description is lighter. This was possible for those with decades of experience. People in the earlier stages of their careers chose to take a long break to revisit their options, or better still, opted to take up an online course or degree programme.”
With the economic situation proving to be challenging, can people really afford to dismantle their careers with these whimsical resignations? “Some have acted purely because they know their pay will be cut and they feel looking for other options will give them back their original salary scales. The reasoning is that if they accept a pay cut now, that’ll be their benchmark pay. So they prefer to opt out on a higher pay scale and look for other jobs,” reasons Shanthi Komaravolu, a specialist in head-hunting.
The past few years have been riddled with constant change, uncertainty and high stress levels, and that may be the reason why people are ready to take a chance on more risk. Agreeing with this view, Meena says, “Yes, in every industry other than health, people faced unpredictable situations in terms of job stability and fluctuating salary scales, and the pressures of working remotely added to the stress. People are now more suited to adapt and therefore more job-mobile.”