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The Great Resignation has ended – where do we go from here?

The time of quitting commonly called The Great Resignation appears to be petering off, and a new phase of employment has begun.

A Black man in a blue business suit carrying a briefcase adjusts his tie with a concerned looking following a Great Resignation moment.

The COVID-inspired wave of employee job transitions–or, more colloquially, “shuffling” or outright quitting–known as the “Great Resignation” has, at least by some metrics, ended. This has left many employees wondering where the hiring power, something that had previously shifted to favor them for once, will settle. 

Certainly, some schools of thought favor employers regaining power, while others observe the gains made by low-wage industries in a more optimistic light. But the fact remains that employers aren’t waving around the incentives they were half a year ago.

In an article by the New York Times, Nela Richardson, the chief economist for a popular payroll processing company, observes that “You don’t see the signs saying $1,000 signing bonus anymore.” Richardson also points out that warnings of a recession and other pain points in the current economy are harbingers of harder times ahead–something that may be motivating enough to persuade employees to “stay put”.

On the other hand, many will posit that employees’ determination to be treated and valued in ways consistent with their workload and outputs–something that involves being paid appropriately–won’t be so quick to dissipate, and employers who fail to honor that cultural shift will feel the effects in a variety of ways.

Indeed, the “Great Resignation” is, in and of itself, a misconception. As the New York Times clarifies, this time period didn’t simply mark the mass exodus of workers from employment to lack thereof; the majority of “quitters” from this time actually used their newfound leverage to move to better-paid and more gratifying jobs.

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Similarly, the hospitality industry–and pretty much any other traditionally low-wage, customer-facing business–found itself strapped for warm bodies during COVID, leading to incentives in the forms of signing bonuses, increased wages, and other worker rights-centric opportunities for otherwise historically disenfranchised groups of employees. Those benefits don’t appear to be going away, at least not en masse. 

So the question many are asking–”What comes next?“–isn’t supremely easy to answer. Employers would do well to honor their employees and common-sense accommodations, while employees should accept the conclusion that the hiring pool is about to change–if not for the worse, then at least for the more inconvenient.

Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.


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