The Great Resignation Continues – Does Working Remotely Play a Role?

Montage of help wanted signs.Back in January of this year, I wrote how the “Great Resignation” could mean unprecedented opportunities for you and why it might be time to consider making your career move. The March 2022 Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary published on May 3 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)  confirms that this phenomenon not only continues but is now at a record level. According to the report, “quits [workers who quit their jobs] edged up to a series high of 4.5 million.” As would be expected, this trend of resignations also helped the number of job openings to rise to a record level. The report goes on to state that “the number of job openings was little changed at 11.5 million, the highest level in the history of the series which began in December 2000.”

In a BLS news release regarding the March 2022 employment situation, the number of unemployed persons was reported as 6.0 million. Considering there were 11.5 million job openings and 6.0 million unemployed individuals, some quick math reveals that 1.9 jobs were available for every unemployed person in March!

This same jobs-per-person number was widely reported by CNN both online and in their television news broadcasts. According to the CNN report, a contributing reason for so many quits is that many individuals seek remote work opportunities.

The COVID pandemic has shown workers in numerous fields—and their employers—that working remotely, a previously minimally utilized concept, is indeed a viable option for many. With the technology readily available and virtual private networks (VPNs), many workers can indeed safely and securely perform the same tasks at home that they would if physically present in the office. Additionally, working remotely saves employees commute time (perhaps 2 hours per day), reduces expenses for public transportation or fuel (think rising gas prices), eliminates parking fees (easily well over $100 per month or even higher in large cities), and avoids purchasing the nicer clothes normally required for the office. Not surprisingly, most workers like their newfound freedom and cost savings!

However, not all employers have embraced working completely remotely as the permanent new normal. With the pandemic easing somewhat and mask mandates being widely lifted, an increasing number of firms are recalling their workers back into the office. In a wise move, some employers permit hybrid approaches, resulting in combinations of remote and in-person work. In a report by U.S. News, “Businesses are showing flexibility in bringing employees back to the office as they deal with an extraordinarily tight job market.”

The Great Resignation and its resulting difficulty for employers to retain workers means more opportunities for job seekers to find companies willing to offer what employees seem to want: the ability to work remotely (where feasible), increased pay/benefits, more flexible work schedules, sign-on bonuses, and the realistic potential for promotion and advancement.

For the first time in a long time, job seekers—not employers—seem to have gained the upper hand in negotiating employment. Of course, this situation will likely not last forever. So, the fact remains: if you are considering making a career move, now may be the time!

Agree? Disagree? Share your experience or thoughts!

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