Talentor Voices on The Great Resignation

by Gertraud Eregger in — February 2022
We’ve asked our Talentor teams in the US, in Austria, in Spain and in China on how The Great Resignation has arrived at their local markets and what other trends they are currently observing.
Interview

Voices from USA

Ken Schmitt, CEO and Founder of TurningPoint – our Talentor partner in San Diego, gives us an overview of the US market trends and impact on the work force.

He also shares what he sees as critical for employers to keep their teams engaged during ongoing challenging times:

While alignment between company culture and employee goals and workstyle have always been important, the pandemic ended up shining a spotlight on the potential gaps. Employees that were once willing to stay with an employer that might not have been completely aligned with their own values are no longer willing to "stick it out".

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What he can observe in the US right now is that managers who are requiring their staff to return to the office 5 days/week, without an option for a hybrid model, really need to rethink their policies or risk losing high performers.

Many employers have failed to provide increased compensation while at the same time posting record profits. And finally, too many company leaders have failed to communicate effectively or consistently with their teams. Combined with a 100% remote work environment, these employees no longer feel engaged or connected to their employers, driving them to consider the millions of other jobs that are available.

In 2022, Ken sees the following 3 priorities as critical for attracting and retaining top talent:

  • Managers need to carve out quality time with their employees - in person or virtually - to discuss their employees' career goals, accomplishments, and contributions, and leaders need to share their vision for the employee's career path.
  • Leaders need to adjust to the new virtual workforce dynamic rather than expecting their employees to return to a 100% "in office" workplace.
  • HR leaders need to work with leadership to conduct and share market research and make difficult - though necessary - adjustments to compensation levels across the organization to reflect the new normal.

Let us now look at Europe. We’ve asked Barbara Ulman, Managing Director at Talentor Austria, to share her observations of what is going on in the job market:

According to the Austrian Job Center we have seen a +70% increase in open positions compared to the reference period 11/20. We have not noticed a ‘’big quit” trend, but a surprisingly quick recovery of the Austrian economy.

Interview

Voices from Austria

As part of our recruiting activities, we can see a high desire for “change” and “improvement”, but not for “adventures”. Apparently, the last year was adventurous enough.  

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Barbara highlights that for all employers it is highly important to stay in close contact with their workforce, despite of further lockdowns and social distancing. Most important is listening to and feeling your employee’s needs, wishes and fears so you can react immediately to changes.

Retention Management will be the core focus of HR. Hiring new people will cost way more than retaining existing talent. Barbara thinks having a clear purpose, vision and perspective are key for attracting skilled people. She also sees the megatrends digitalization, sustainability and diversity – in other words, creating long lasting solutions and a unique team – as the leading competitive advantage in the ever-changing markets.

Alberto Fernandez Varela, CEO & Founder of Servitalent (Talentor Spain), sees the impact of the pandemic as one of the largest migrations in Spain in history – without leaving our homes.

Interview

Voices from Spain

In addition to the health and economic crisis that we all already know about, Covid-19 is causing the greatest social revolution that we have ever seen, whose impact on companies and the real economy have not yet been evaluated. We are talking about the largest migratory movement in the history of humanity, without anyone leaving home.

Foto Alberto 2021

Alberto adds that many professionals in Spain have realized that they can apply for better jobs in other countries without having to move. This will have structural consequences on human resources and talent retention policies all over the world. The big change in talent management is still coming.

Finally, we’ve connected with Michael Wang, CEO Talentor China. As the Washington Post writes, China is seeing its own version of the Great Resignation. A younger workforce is being turned off by low wages and the country needs a higher number of skilled workers in the tech sector.

Interview

Voices from China

There’s no doubt that China is also experiencing a similar kind of “Great Resignation”, but what we see is a more complex situation caused by the joint force of the pandemic, a re-shaping of entire sectors, and an awakening of self-awareness in the Chinese young workforce.     

Emp Cn Michael Wang

The Talentor China team has conducted a recent study: Around 70% of the professional people in the study are actively looking for new jobs. Most of them are between the age of 25 and 40; most work at international companies.

The top reason for changing jobs is still to seek for better career opportunities. But the consideration of job security has exceeded the desire for a promotion or additional learning due to the impact of COVID-19. Many people are concerned about whether China is still a big focus of their top management’s global strategy. The traveling restrictions and quarantine policies also create big challenges for international managers travelling in or out of China, which can lead to their local employees feeling insecure about their company’s future. When talking to those candidates, our consultants are often asked questions like “Are they still profitable?”, “How about their business growth during the last year?” and “What’s their long-term strategy”.

There’s also some good news (or bad news for some companies). The booming industries like electric cars, social media, IT, and medical are reshaping the entire job market. Recently when recruiting purchasers for a global automotive company in Beijing, we surprisingly found that there are much fewer young talents (below 25 years) in this traditional area than we had expected. The excellent graduates have been swiped by companies like Alibaba, Tencent or Tiktok. Besides internet giants, those traditional global automotive OEMs (like VW, Daimler, BMW) are already battling hard with both Tesla and the local VC backed players like Nio and Xiaopeng. In IT industry, every company is facing a shortage of skilled designers and testers.

Finally, Michael shares a message to every employer in China to take the balanced integration of work and life seriously. There was a time when giant internet companies were crazily growing and putting their employees on 996 (meaning work starting from 9am and ending at 9 pm, 6 days a week). Right now, 996 or work overloaded weekends can be a major trigger for young people to quit their jobs. Living a respectful and caring work environment is the #1 competitive advantage in China now for becoming or staying employer of choice of the demanded young workforce.

We want to thank the partners and teams of Talentor Austria, Talentor USA, Talentor Spain and Talentor China for sharing their market observations and HR advice with us!