From the Great Resignation to demand for more overtime

Economics dictate decisions even as resignations remain high

The great resignation has ceased to be a talking point despite continued high quit rates and what appears to be a shift in worker motivation away from finding jobs with purpose toward finding one that simply pays enough to combat inflation.

A survey of more than 1,000 full-time US workers by Qualtrics found that 64 percent say it's become harder to pay for basic living expenses in the past year due to inflation. It's for that reason the think more than half of Americans working full time have considered holding multiple jobs.

Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said they'd welcome the opportunity for overtime or extra shifts, while one in five said they've already moved to an area with a lower cost of living to save money. An additional 13 percent said they're planning a move for the same reason.

Working parents face amplified economic woes with 69 percent unable to keep up with rising costs. This group is also twice as likely to relocate to cheaper areas, with 64 percent said they'd be willing to give up time at home to work for extra pay.

Like many things, a return to before

For many, the COVID-19 pandemic served as a wake-up call. The employee of 2021 and early 2022 sought work with purpose alongside better pay. In 2019, the primary reason workers left jobs was for better pay.

As the world start to return to normal and remote work is on the decline, the cost of having a job is beginning to reassert itself alongside 40-year highs in inflation rates, making Qualtrics' discovery that money has become the primary concern again unsurprising. Times are desperate, and so are workers.

The shift has been surprisingly rapid, in timestep with rising inflation. Yet economic challenges haven't stopped workers from quitting – rates aren't as high as peaks in 2021, but they're still considerably above pre-pandemic averages. 

Qualtrics' Chief Workplace Psychologist, Dr Benjamin Granger, said these numbers should be a warning to businesses not to relax their retention efforts. "Employee turnover is a huge cost for companies, so it's business critical for organizations to understand which of their employees are likely to leave and why, so they can make adjustments to reduce attrition and retain key performers." ®

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