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What makes Australia's great resignation different?

  • March 21 2022
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What makes Australia's great resignation different?

By Jon Bragg
March 21 2022

While significant changes have taken place across the employment landscape, an expert believes that the great resignation has not yet taken hold in Australia.

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What makes Australia's great resignation different?

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  • March 21 2022
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While significant changes have taken place across the employment landscape, an expert believes that the great resignation has not yet taken hold in Australia.

resignation

Australia’s employment landscape has undergone significant changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with ongoing skills shortages coupled with the unemployment rate hitting a record low.

According to research from NAB, nearly one in four workers are thinking of resigning from their current employer, while research from HR software company ELMO has indicated that 43 per cent of employees plan to actively search for a new job in 2022.

Ian Neil SC, a leading employment and industrial law barrister, told nestegg that this trend is being driven by two causes acting in unison.

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“The ‘pull’ factor is that there is a serious labour and skills shortage in Australia, caused by departure of temporary visa holders and the closing of our international borders for the last two years,” he said.

“Employers are responding by offering attractive remuneration and conditions to best compete for the labour and skills that are in short supply. This provides opportunities for workers looking for a new job.”

Meanwhile, on the ‘push’ side, Mr Neil said that many workers are burnt out as a direct result of the challenges encountered over the last 24 months, and, as a result, want to make a change.

Since the start of 2020, 51 per cent of workers were found to have made a change to their employment arrangement including moving jobs, switching industries, changing careers or reducing hours.

Despite ongoing fears of the ‘great resignation’, Mr Neil argued that the issue was not replicated in Australia to the degree witnessed across the United States and other countries, potentially because Australia exited pandemic-related lockdowns much later than many of its western peers.

He agreed that workers are changing jobs rather than leaving the labour market altogether, in line with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s view that Australia is experiencing a “great reshuffle” rather than a great resignation.

On his employment outlook over the longer term, Mr Neil said that current challenges would persist while labour and skills shortages continue.

“The only way to address that problem quickly is by increasing the number of people who come to Australia from overseas to work,” he suggested.

“There seems very little sign of serious efforts to do that. For so long as there remains a shortage of workers, there will be upward pressure on wages and conditions, which in turn will flow through into prices.”

What makes Australia's great resignation different?
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