Job change: Will you become part of the ‘Great Resignation’?

The pandemic has upended our professional lives and, for many, radically changed our career priorities. But how do you know when it’s the right time to change roles?

The pandemic prompted a global shift in priorities for our working lives.

Jobs that once seemed important enough to commute for hours, work on weekends and sacrifice personal time have lost their shine.

Americans are leading the resignation charge with more than 35 million quitting their jobs and racking up a record “quit rate” of 3 per cent in September 2021.

Dubbed “The Great Resignation”, the trend is tipped to hit Australia by March, as workers who held onto their job through lockdowns for financial security now re-evaluate their work-life balance.

Data from professional network LinkedIn shows a 26 per cent hike in workers changing companies in October last year compared to 2019.

Anna O’Dea, founder of recruitment firm Agency Iceberg, says a mass career shift is happening, with similar wish lists from candidates.

“People are tired of one or two hour daily commutes, of 9am-5pm, of constant overtime being overlooked,” Amanda says.

“Things have changed and priorities are different.

“People want flexibility, remote work, more work-life balance, independence, higher fulfillment and jobs that pay them the amount that they feel they deserve.”

How the Great Resignation reshaped the power balance

With closed international borders stymying the usual influx of skilled migration, Australia is in the midst of a war for talent — and that’s a great thing for Aussie workers.

“I think there’s never been a better time to apply for a job,” Anna says.

“I recruit for the marketing, PR, advertising, digital and design industries and the volume of jobs coming into my agency each day has never been this high.

“It’s a ‘talent’s market’ right now.”

Anna says the power balance has definitely shifted, with employees now able to call the shots. The pandemic has proven many jobs can be done remotely, opening up a whole new future of work.

“The last two years have made it very clear that, if companies need to change, they can. And quickly,” she says.

“Many people are in the mindset of setting clear boundaries for themselves and not allowing employers to take advantage of them anymore.

“If employers try to go back to the way things were before 2020, they’re not going to like what they see.”

How to know when it’s time to consider a new job

Career coach Mei Phing says you need to understand the motivation for your interest in changing jobs before you hand in your letter of resignation.

“The most important question to ask is (if) the decision to resign from your role is a PULL (you’re excited for a growth opportunity and fulfil your potential) or PUSH (you’re facing a problem that you cannot resolve, hence to escape the situation),” Mei says.

“If it’s the former, consider if your employer has a career development plan to further enhance your potential in the role — be it a promotion, new projects, new exposure or skills.

“If it’s the latter, I’d recommend deep diving into the root causes to ensure that similar challenges do not happen again in the next role.”

Anna says warning signs you need a break could include:

  • physical exhaustion
  • anxiety
  • a feeling of dread going to work each day

But before you make the leap, she advises to think about your financial situation and ensure you have the right support networks.

Finding the right role for you

Mei suggests setting your “career GPS” by first identifying your career interests and direction, the kind of job that offers you the flexibility you need for work-life balance but also job satisfaction.

Some people will need a role that permits them to be leaders in their field, others prefer to work within a larger team, while some will be after part-time options.

Also consider if a role can offer the opportunity for mentoring, additional training and if the company’s corporate values align with your own.

“Understanding your personality is the foundation for finding the most suitable role that utilises your strengths,” she says.

“Just remember, there is no perfect job; only the right one for the next phase of your career growth.”

Written by Cathy Anderson.