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Here comes the Great Resignation. Why millions of employees could quit their jobs post-pandemic

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By Lisa Leong with Monique Ross and Maria Tickle for This Working Life

HAS THE PANDEMIC made you rethink your career or deeply question the role of work in your life? If so, you’re not alone.

In the US, COVID-19 has led to what’s been dubbed the Great Resignation: millions of people, from frontline workers to senior executives, voluntarily calling time on their jobs.

According to recent research by Microsoft, more than 40 percent of the global workforce are considering leaving their employers this year.

The mass exodus has company leaders bracing for a seismic shift in the workforce — and the trend is likely to be heading to Australia.

“The movement of talent is so significant and so sharp that it’s different to probably anything we’ve seen in living memory,” behavioural scientist Aaron McEwan, from global research and advisory firm Gartner, told ABC RN’s This Working Life.

So what’s driving this upheaval? And how will it reshape our career choices in big and small ways?

Humans, not just workers

Pandemics reshape society at fundamental levels, said Mr McEwan, and this one is shifting the balance of power from employers to employees.

“It has rewritten the psychological contract between employers and employees,” he said.

Think of a psychological contract as the deal you make with your employer about what you get in exchange for your labour, time and effort.

Historically, it’s been based on companies providing a great worker experience: a good salary, a nice office, how many benefits they can offer.

“Today, employees don’t want to be seen as workers. They want to be seen as complex human beings with rich, full lives,” Mr McEwan said.

“They’re not just interested in the experience they can have at work, they’re interested in what an employer does to enrich their life experience.”

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IMAGE: Rishiraj Parmar, Pexels

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