Global Voices on The Great Resignation 

I was honored to be part of a global discussion with Talentor teams here in the US, in Austria, Spain and China on how The Great Resignation has arrived at our local markets and what other trends we’re currently seeing.

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 workforce.

He also shares what he sees to be critical as employer to keep your team 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”. 

What he can observe in the US right now is, that managers that 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 in order to attract and retain top talent:
  • Managers need to carve out quality time with their employees – in person or virtually – to discuss 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 – although necessary – adjustments to compensation levels across the organization to reflect the new normal
What are they seeing in 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 do see a rise of + 70% of open positions compared to the reference period 11/20. What we have not seen so far, had been the same trend as the ‘’big quit”, but a surprisingly quick recovery of the Austrian economy.

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

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 to hear and feel employee’s needs, wishes and fears so you can react immediately to any change.

Retention Management will be the core focus of HR’s future topics. Hiring new people will cost weigh more than hold the existing one. Having a clear purpose, vision and perspective is key for Barbara to attract skilled people from the markets. She also sees the megatrends digitalization, sustainability and diversity more as being buzzwords – creating long lasting solutions and a unique team in place will be 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 migration in Spain since history – but without leaving our homes.

In addition to the health and economic crisis that we all already know, 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, but without leaving home.

Alberto adds, that many professionals in Spain have realized that they can apply for better jobs in other countries without having to change residence. 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 sees its own version of the Great Resignation. A younger workforce is turned off by lower wages and the country needs a higher number of skilled workers in the tech sector.

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, re-shaping of entire sectors and the wakeup of self-awareness of the Chinese young workforce. 

The Talentor China team has conducted a recent study: Around 70% of the professional people within their circles are actively looking for new jobs. Mostly between the age of 25 to 40 years, mainly working at international companies.

The top reason for job changing is still to seek for better career opportunities. But the consideration of job security has exceeded the expectations on job promotion and learning due to the impact of the 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 policy also create big challenges for international managers to travel in or out of China, which can lead to their local employees feeling insecure about their company future. When talking to those candidates, our consultants are often asked by questions like “Are they still profitable?”, “How about their business growth during the last year?”, “What’s their long-term strategy”.

There’s also some good news (or bad news for some companies). The booming industries like Electric Car, social media, IC, 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 IC 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 to become or stay employer of choice of the demanded young workforce.

Thank you to Talentor for initiating current market conversations and HR advice between our global partners!