May 6, 2022 - Economy

The Great Resignation has no end date

Illustration of a conference table surrounded by empty chairs with clock hands in the center

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Job turnover is 20% higher in our new remote and hybrid working world — and it's going to stay that way, new research from Gartner, a technology research firm, shows.

Why it matters: Companies should brace for a lasting culture of quitting.

By the numbers: Some 37 million people will leave their jobs in the U.S. this year, Gartner projects. That's a 20% jump from pre-pandemic levels.

  • Zoom in: A company that was seeing a fifth of its workforce turn over annually before the pandemic, for example, can now expect to lose almost a quarter of its employees each year.

"This is for as far as the eye can see at this point," says Brian Kropp, chief of research for Gartner's HR practice. "As long as we're in this world of remote and hybrid work — and it's hard to see us getting out of it — that elevated level of turnover is going to stick with us."

What's happening: Flexible work means the cost of leaving a job is far lower.

  1. Workers have options. The companies eager to hire you aren't just the ones within commuting distance anymore. Remote work means there are many more places to land if you quit.
  2. Work friendships are weaker. "Employees pick a place to work not just for rational reasons, like compensation or benefits, but emotional and social reasons, like, 'That's where my friends are,'" Kropp says. Remote and hybrid work weakens those connections as there's far less face time at the office — or none at all.

But, but, but: Taking away work-from-anywhere isn't an option for most companies. 7 in 10 workers now think of work flexibility as table stakes, Gartner found.

What's next: Companies will have to bring in more recruiters to handle the long-term load of open roles. And they'll have to build some redundancy into teams so products and clients don't suffer from concentrated turnover spikes.

The other side: It's possible to bring down that turnover rate, experts say.

  • Plenty of companies were remote or mostly remote before the pandemic and have managed to stabilize quit rates.
  • Human resources leaders at those places tell us that clarity around company purpose and mission to drive a strong culture is as vital as competitive pay and perks. And corporate retreats are now a must to build those work friendships that make people think twice about quitting.

Go deeper: Your office, forever changed

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