Since 2021, the term “The Great Resignation” has flooded news reports and thought pieces related to the job market. The number of workers who quit their jobs in 2021 was unprecedented - approximately 47 million people.

However, with an increasingly volatile stock market and high inflation rates, over 50% of Americans believe we are in a recession or heading towards one. Workers who left their jobs in search of greener pastures are beginning to wonder if they took the right call; 26% of people who quit their previous job regret their decision. This phenomenon is now being termed the “Great Regret.”

While the Great Resignation resulted in an employee-led job market, the Great Regret might tip the balance in favor of employers. At the start of the pandemic, job openings had reached record highs, and workers could hold out for higher pay and better opportunities. In contrast, Joblist’s Q2 2022 U.S. Job Market Report found that nearly 50% of job seekers expect the job market to worsen in the next six months.

Before diving into how the Great Regret can affect your business and recruitment efforts, let’s first understand why millions of workers resigned in the first place.

What caused the Great Resignation?

The COVID-19 pandemic led to workers re-evaluating what they want from their professional and personal lives. Here are some common reasons why employees resigned in the past year:

  • 41% quit due to a lack of career advancement or development.

  • 36% cited inadequate compensation as the reason for leaving.

  • 34% of workers left their jobs because of uninspiring leadership.

  • 31% resigned because they didn’t find their work meaningful.

  • 29% of workers quit under the pressure of unsustainable work expectations.

  • 26% of respondents left because of unsupportive colleagues.

  • 26% left because they wanted more workplace flexibility.

  • 26% resigned because they believed their workplace didn’t provide enough support for their physical and mental well-being.

What caused the Great Resignation

Why are workers regretting leaving their previous jobs?

There are various reasons why workers regret their choice of leaving their previous organizations, the most common (40%) being having left without accepting another offer and finding it difficult to find a new role. This is surprising as job openings in the U.S. continue to rise despite market predictions; July 2022 saw 11.2 million job openings in the country.

Other common reasons for the “Great Regret” include workers missing their colleagues (22%), the new job not matching their expectations (17%), the previous role seeming more appealing in hindsight (16%), and poor management or negative work culture at the new organization (9%).

What is the current state of the job market?

Though many workers regret leaving their previous roles, rehiring them isn’t as simple as it seems. 

23% of respondents reported that their previous employers reached out to them to discuss rejoining. However, when asked if they would consider returning to their former workplace, i.e., if they were open to being a boomerang employee, 59% of respondents said no, while only 17% said yes. 

In addition, certain industries like technology and fintech have witnessed wide-scale layoffs. Over 41,000 U.S. tech workers have been laid off in mass job cuts this year, although we have found that very few developers and programmers have been a part of these layoffs.

The job market is currently trending towards a combination of reshuffling, re-inventing, and re-assessing.

  • Reshuffling: 48% of employees leave their jobs to seek roles in new industries. All fields are not affected equally, and some industries disproportionately struggle to attract new talent.

  • Re-inventing: Many workers are abandoning traditional employment in favor of non-traditional work (working part-time or freelancing) or choosing to start their own businesses. 44% of workers who quit without a job in hand said they have little to no interest in reverting to a traditional role in the next six months

  • Re-assessing: This category consists of individuals exiting the workforce to focus on priorities in their personal lives, which results in the talent pool shrinking considerably. 

Technical Interviews as a Service

From the Great Resignation to the Great Regret, the job market venturing into uncharted territory calls for a Great Reimagination: “a fundamental re-examination of workplace systems that can help businesses weather the future shocks sure to arise.”

How should businesses proceed with their recruitment efforts?

To weather the job market’s current turbulence and to safeguard against future upheaval, organizations need to make fundamental changes in how they work. Businesses can retain and hire the best talent in the following ways:

Focus on general skills rather than job-specific ones 

Instead of hiring based on narrow job descriptions, train your recruitment team to look for desired or adjacent skills. Avionos, a digital consultancy based in Chicago, grappled with the challenges of the Great Resignation by hiring generalists instead of specialists. According to co-founder Gibson Smith, this technique helped expand the talent pool, enabling the firm to hire and train workers who could grow with it.

Hire based on skills instead of degrees

Hiring based on skills over degrees or past work experience has many benefits: it expands the talent pool and reduces confirmation and affinity biases. Flocareer’s on demand interviews put forth a variety of questions, including coding assignments and scenario-based questions, to help you assess a candidate’s skills and aptitude.

Create opportunity marketplaces

The lack of internal growth opportunities is a frequently cited reason for workers leaving an organization. 

Businesses are addressing this issue by setting up opportunity marketplaces that “elicit agency in the workforce.” These are tech platforms that use artificial intelligence to help employees find learning opportunities, mentors, side projects, part-time gigs, and new roles within the organization.

According to Robin Jones, a principal in Deloitte Consulting’s human capital practice, an opportunity marketplace “gives workers more control and choice in their careers and allows them to see their organization through a wider lens."

Give fair compensation to your workers

Conduct an audit to assess whether your compensation to workers is fair, and be prepared to adjust packages if your findings point to below-market wages. Job changers are likely to have 7% higher salaries than those who stayed put, so be sure to give your loyal employees an incentive to stick around.

In addition, provide your employees opportunities for growth and a nurturing work environment in which to build strong relationships. When you invest in your workers and value their contributions, you are more likely to retain them for longer. 

Provide a flexible work model

During the pandemic, workers realized the benefits of working from home. 67% of workers believed the biggest benefit was the freedom to manage their time as per their needs while 62% believed it to be the flexibility to choose their work location. The pandemic-induced work-from-home experiment of the past few years has also increased upper management’s confidence in employees' abilities to work remotely by 41%.

Businesses can also benefit from flexible work models that lower overhead costs and broaden the talent pool beyond those in physical proximity. While a complete work-from-home model may not suit all organizations, many are opting for a hybrid model that combines in-person and remote working. Stacy Janiak, Managing Partner and Chief Growth Officer of Deloitte US believes that “the key will be balance — harmonizing the need for connection and collaboration with flexibility and accommodation.” Organizations can also benefit from focusing more on work outcomes rather than in-office time.

Use data-driven insights to prevent employee attrition

In an increasingly unpredictable job market, businesses must constantly experiment and draw cues from the environment. Examine data illustrating the remote work performed on digital platforms to identify the workers whose exit would result in a massive loss of value. You can then retain these prized employees with attractive benefits.

Upgrade your interviewing strategy

Without a well-thought-out interviewing strategy, your firm risks making bad hires, which results in 33% more time wasted, 27% decrease in staff morale and productivity, and 22% more stress on the supervisor.

Including structured interviews in your recruitment strategy can help you better assess a candidate’s fit for a role. A structured interview involves a fixed set of questions asked in a pre-determined order. The responses are assessed using a scoring rubric, which enhances recruitment efforts by allowing multiple candidates to be compared objectively.

How can FloCareer help? 

While the Great Regret may lead to a greater number of candidates looking for jobs, the challenge of hiring quality employees still persists, especially for technical roles like software engineers.

FloCareer’s range of products and services helps you hire the best talent quickly. Outsourcing the first round of interviews to FloCareer makes the process five times faster, while our JD to CV match uses AI to shortlist candidates based on the required skill set, which makes screening more efficient and accurate.

Our Live Interview Platform reduces the burden on your HR team by curating the interview structure and detecting fraudulent activities like lip-syncing in online interviews. It also lets candidates complete the interview from a location of their choice. This reduces the time spent and the financial burden of commuting for interviews, improving candidates’ overall interview experience. Moreover, the auto-scheduling feature, efficient feedback submission, and reduced turnaround time make the whole hiring process straightforward and seamless.

FloCareer’s team of 4000+ expert interviewers is trained to hire for skill-based and specialized roles. FloCareer’s experts have conducted over 400,000 interviews and helped over 250 clients find the right talent for their organizations by matching skills with job requirements. Sign up for a free demo with FloCareer today to see the difference for yourself!