In fact, so many people quit that the media started using the term "Great Resignation" to describe the trend.

During the so-called Great Resignation, more than 1 million Australians quit their jobs. Issues like stress, increased responsibilities without matching increases in salary, not being rewarded for smarter working or being more productive, and job dissatisfaction were the primary motivations for many who opted to quit.

Others said world events like the pandemic caused them to rethink their priorities and find a job that gave them more time and energy for hobbies, passions, or family instead of requiring more time at the office.


A Worldwide Trend

This trend is affecting many major economic powers. More than 50 million Americans quit their jobs during the Great Resignation. However, a survey from Joblist has shown that at least 25% of these workers regret their decision to quit.

Many of these people are actively trying to get their old jobs back. Data from LinkedIn found that 4.5% of hires in 2021 were not new hires but returning employees returning to their old jobs after quitting. Some of these so-called boomerang employees may have been unable to find a suitable replacement. However, others may have been lured back by employers willing to increase pay to attract experienced workers.

This data suggests that many employees found that their old jobs were better than they thought or that the alternatives also had the same drawbacks without familiarity.


Why Do Workers Regret Resigning?

The Joblist survey found that more than half of workers who regret leaving their job found conditions different than expected at their new workplaces. The work was either harder, the job didn't meet expectations, or the culture was toxic. A significant minority of employees found that they missed their old job or the friendships that they made there. They were unable to make similar connections at their new place of employment.

Despite a clear indication that some members of the Great Resignation found out that the grass-is-always-greener phenomenon rings true, most workers did not regret their choices — 59% of survey respondents said they wouldn't consider returning to their old job.

Data also suggests that overall job security could play a role in dissatisfaction. Research by ELMO Software found that workers who felt less secure about their jobs were more likely to experience stress and burnout. This suggests that some people in highly competitive careers, requiring minimal skill or training or in danger of becoming redundant, may experience the same level of uncertainty or dissatisfaction regardless of where they work.


How "Great" Is the Great Resignation?

This is level of job change is not unprecedented. From 1988-1989, 19.5% of Australians changed their jobs, which is double the amount of changes during the Great Resignation. Furthermore, some of these numbers could be due to employment changes during Covid-19 and people returning to work as the pandemic seemingly winds down.

At the same time, Australians are spoiled for choice. In the second quarter of 2022, job vacancies were up 29.7% compared to the previous year. The fact that different jobs are available may have been too tempting for workers seeking the perfect job situation. The regret could come from not finding that ideal situation among the many alternatives.


Lessons Learned

It is also a great idea to hit pause before deciding to quit. Anyone feeling burnt out should take time to assess alternatives, such as negotiating for a promotion or higher salary or working with their current employer to reduce workload and stress levels. In the current market, some managers are receptive to such requests because they do not want to hire and train new employees.

Below we have listed a few steps both employers and employees can take to keep retention high or ensure before you leave a job that you won't regret moving on. 

• Employers and employees should have meetings about company culture, work environment, expectations, and benchmarks for success during the interview process. 

• Employees can ask for outside perspectives to make sure the job meets your decision-making criteria. If you get caught up in the idea of leaving for greener pastures, it could become impossible to think about the decision objectively. Third-party insights could help you see the positives of your current job. 

• Employers seeking to make their business more attractive to incoming and existing employees should look at taking internal steps like refining time management, seeking professional development opportunities, or looking for other responsibilities/strengths for existing employees to grow. 

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