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Question

The Great Resignation is it a movement?

Kevin Anderson's picture
Executive Vice President WFG Industrial

Kevin Anderson is the Executive Vice President of WFG Industrial. He joined the team in 2019 and is committed to overall excellence. Kevin was tasked with growing the industrial sector and has...

  • Member since 2020
  • 8 items added with 9,933 views
  • Jul 14, 2021 3:47 pm GMT
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As I read my morning news feed, there seems to be a trend taking shape in America as well as globally. Workers are quitting their jobs in a degree of various labor categories and sectors. 

The question to the HR Community: Is this a Trend? If it is a trend is it justifiable movement? and will this great resignation impact Power Generation/Oil/Gas/PetroChem/EPC labor categories. 

I look forward to the answers. 

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Certainly it is a candidate market right now.  While we are experiencing challenges in our candidate pipelines for corporate services and call center positions, our field position recruiting continues to be stable.  The pipelines are smaller, but still at a level that support our hiring needs with high quality. 

To several excellent opinions on this thread I'll add my own 3¢.

Labor statistics count jobs - salaried employees. Uncounted are those in the "gig economy" - the independent contractors. They include Uber/Lyft drivers, painters, construction workers, software programmers, food/package delivery personnel, accountants - pretty much anyone who had a desk job in the corporate world of the past. Corporations have discovered its cheaper to higher someone by the job, and avoid the costs of their health expenses/retirement/bonuses, etc.

As veteran of the gig economy, I have learned there are pluses and minuses. On the plus side are accepting work as it comes on your terms, freedom to work with people you like (and not, with those you don't), and not having to commute. Minuses are lack of job security, inability to plan for the future, responsibility for billing and collection of payment.

One can also view the lack of job security and "inability" to plan for the future as a positive. Being in competition with tens or hundreds of others in my field has driven me to be better at what I do, to work harder. In return, I enjoy the direct fruits of my labors. Being forced to plan for my family's future has made me more conservative with my investments, and more frugal with my purchases.

Kevin,  I am responding to this question to bring it back to the forefront of the community.  It seems like every night, I turn on the news and hear about labor shortages.  My question is, where did all the workers go that were around before COVID.  

Are we officially facing the retiring aging workforce that has been talked about for decades now?

Are some still on unemployment benefits that were designed to help through the pandemic?  I thought most of that ended? 
Where are the most significant shortages in the Utility sector, and what are some of our utility companies doing about it? 

 

This seems like an excellent discussion topic for this group - I would love to hear what others have to say? 

 

A trend.  I would say, yes.  Some trends last for years and some are shorter lived. I believe that this trend will be around for at least the remainder for 2021 and will impact ALL labor categories.  I am not sure that I would categorize it as a justifiable movement.  To me, it feels more personal in my opinion.  The pandemic has caused so many people to view their lives from a different lens which I believe is the main driver of this trend.  I have talked to so many people and the common themes I am hearing are the following; I want to stay remote, I realized that I needed a change, I want something different, the money isn't as important any more, work-life balance is my main driver now, etc.  All of these statements lean towards people seeing things differently for themselves which is leading to what some are calling "The Great Resignation".  No industry will escape the impact.  Several articles are stating some companies may see up to a 50% turn.  I don't ever remember hearing numbers like that in my 25+ year career.  

 

How we react as leaders and organizations will make a big difference on just how much our companies are impacted by this trend.  I believe that the companies that find a flexible way to "blend" will be the winners in the end and keep more of their staff.  I think blended families are some of the most beautiful families in the world because of all of the color and diversity.  Companies that welcome a blended employee base will come out stronger.  Blended to me means; work schedules, remote & hybrid environments, policy changes, diversity and inclusion efforts, expanding training & development to allow those lacking experience to have opportunities, openness to new approaches and so much more.  Old school and rigid approaches to running companies will be the ones who lose the most. 

 

I, for one will be a leader pushing for "blending" my organization's family and opening my mind to view things through multiple new and colorful lenses. 

 

 

Hello Kevin,

 

Good question!

 

Here in the US, our stimulated economy currently has millions of unfilled positions for qualified applicants.  As one result, people with skills that are in demand can change positions if they want to.

 

I believe we are seeing a "Great Resignation" trend that is a logical outcome of the pandemic.  During the height of the pandemic, many organizations needed to be flexible and trust their employees to be productive without close oversight and supervision.  For many people, this created a new lifestyle with less commuting time, reduced expenses, and a better work/life balance.  As the pandemic ends here in the US, many organizations want their employees to report to work more regularly.  Their employees can then feel that they are losing a better lifestyle and that they are not trusted despite over a year of demonstrated results.  The employees can just resign and work remotely for another organization that allows it.  

 

From an HR perspective, organizations should consider the post-pandemic job market before implementing blanket return-to-the-workplace policies.  Further, organizations that stay with flexible work arrangements will have a greater talent pool to draw from.  Finally, organizations may want to use the remote working arrangements as a way to reduce their physical footprint and associated costs (e.g. hotel offices instead of dedicated ones).

 

I look forward to opinions from other people here on Energy Central.

 

Best,

 

Mike

 

 

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