In March 2022 the unemployment rate was 3.6%, the lowest since February 2020. Total nonfarm employment rose by 431,000. Gains were seen in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and manufacturing as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),
Does this mean “The Great Resignation”, where the U.S. saw a monthly average of 4.2 million people voluntarily resigning from their jobs since Sept. 2021, is finally OVER?
Where are the workforce gains coming from?
By September 2021, 2.6 million people aged 55 and over elected to retire earlier than expected due to the pandemic. Fast forward to March 2022, 3.2% of the people who retired last year have since reported they took a job. According to the Wall Street Journal, “unretirees” cited the following reasons as to why they’re re-entering the workforce:
- Lessened concerns about COVID-19 exposure
- The widespread availability of flexible work arrangement that provides better work-life balance
- Lack of financial stability amidst inflation and insufficient retirement savings
- Boredom / Looking to be in a position that is fulfilling or impactful to the community
Nick Bunker, Economic Research Director for Indeed Hiring Labs, said, “The current increase in the unretirement rate suggests the tightening labor market is a major force luring many retired workers back into a job.”
Of the 431,000 increase in employment in March 2022, 63% consisted of women rejoining the workforce. In a study made by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), 1.6 million women left the workforce during the pandemic with many citing childcare as their primary reason for exiting.
The return of on-site schooling and increase in children’s COVID vaccination rates have led to more women coming back to work. “Women tend to shoulder child-care responsibilities, and if pandemic conditions improve, they’re no longer in a position where they have to leave their jobs or the workforce to handle things at home,” said Jasmine Tucker, Director of Research for the NWLC.
Though this increase is promising, especially in this tight labor market, there are still 1.1 million women who are not working due to a lack of flexibility to choose when they put in their hours or receive paid time off to accommodate child-rearing needs.
GEN Z AND MILLENNIALS:
LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index found that Gen Z workers (those born after 1997) are changing jobs at a 134% rate higher than they were in 2019. Millennials are switching 24% more; boomers 4% less.
Gen Z respondents have the clearest job-hunting agenda of any age cohort. They are seeking work that better aligns with their values (80%), gain new skills (76%), and advancement opportunities (61%).
Majority of the Gen Z’s who participated in the Great Resignation said they regretted job-hopping. Out of more than 2,500 respondents who participated in TheMuse.com’s survey, 72% said the new jobs they have taken are not meeting their expectations, with 80% saying it’s appropriate to job hunt again within 6 months if the new job is inadequate.
“This is a generational shift, driven by Gen Z and millennial candidates who are more likely to believe the employer-employee relationship should be a two-way street,” Kathryn Minshew, CEO of TheMuse.com, says. “On top of this, the pandemic has emphasized for many that ‘life is short,’ which means candidates are less likely to stick around in unfulfilling jobs.”
If more people are reportedly re-entering the workforce, does that mean there are fewer people quitting their jobs? As of February’s Job Opening’s and Labor Turnover Survey, quit levels are still at 4.35 million, which shows workers are still willingly leaving their place of employment.
HOW EMPLOYERS CAN ATTRACT TALENTS:
- Offer more work-life balance benefits: The ability to work remotely and have flexible schedules have become the most sought-after benefits for transient workers. Of the 5,000 people who participated in Grant Thorton’s “State of Work in America Survey”, only 38% responded positively to pre-pandemic work arrangements of working primarily on-site and having set business hours.
- Provide path towards advancement: Companies that leverage technology to provide continuous training and clear advancement paths will attract younger workers (Millennials and Gen Z workers will soon outnumber the Baby Boomers in the workforce). A LinkedIn survey reported that Gen Z workers are more open to taking a pay cut at a new company that offers options for career progression.
- Build a culture of impactful work: As stated above, unretirees are looking for work that they consider to be impactful to their communities. 74% of Gen Z’s want to work for an organization that enables them to help others, according to an article by Allwork.space. Having a clear mission statement of how a company’s service or product provides significant benefits to society can motivate workers to join their brand.
To get assistance in attracting engineering talents who are looking to re-enter the workforce or make a career jump, connect with a SoloPoint Solutions staffing expert today: