Why the Great Resignation has become the Big Stay

The Great Resignation of the pandemic era when millions of Americans quit their jobs for new ones that improved their work-life balance or career path reset both employees and employers.

A recent survey conducted by staffing firm Robert Half found more than three-quarters of professionals are happy in their current roles and report high confidence in their skills and abilities.

In what has become the Big Stay, just 35% of workers plan to look for a new job in the second half of 2024, down from almost half who had similar plans the same time last year.

“During the Great Resignation, a lot of people changed jobs. It is also a fact that during that period of time, employers became much more concerned about individual job satisfaction, and we think that those two things have led to individuals being happy in the position they are in, and wanting to stay more,” said Josh Howarth, senior regional vice president for Robert Half’s D.C. metro operations.

The youngest of professionals have seen the largest drop in itching for a new job, dropping from 74% who planned to seek new employment last year, to 44% in this latest survey. Among all age groups surveyed, 77% said they are generally happy in their role and 85% reported a good work-life balance.

Robert Half notes its survey suggests the dip in job search activity does not mean workers have become complacent about their careers.

“We actually found that a very high number, 73% of those we surveyed said they are very confident in their professional abilities. They’ve taken steps to increase their value and marketability by learning new skills,” Howarth said.

For employers that heeded shifting worker expectations, recruitment and retention have improved. For those who have resisted changes, both have become harder.

“Any employers who are insisting on 100% on-site, you’re going to be at the back of the pack as it relates to any job seekers looking into your company,” Howarth said.

For professionals who are looking for a new job, there are other red flags that will strike a potential employer from their search list.

“And the top one — 41% — said if there was not a salary range in the job description that is posted. Secondly, your reputation in the marketplace, with 40% of those saying if they had learned of high employee turnover at your company, that is going to make them shy away,” Howarth said.

Other deal killers for job applicants cited in the survey were no emphasis on company culture and a prolonged interview process.

Robert Half’s survey, conducted in April, included responses from more than 1,000 professionals and more than 400 hiring managers from companies with 20 or more employees.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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