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The 'Great Resignation' is changing the workplace

The latest data shows that in August, a record 4.3 million workers quit their jobs, piggybacking on previous record months.

GLASTONBURY, Conn. — A record number of Americans have quit their jobs over the last few months in what is being called the "Great Resignation," and those exits show no signs of slowing down.

A recent report from job search site Joblist showed 73% of people surveyed are thinking about quitting their jobs.

"I do think the pandemic has shown organizations that staff members can be just as productive from home as they are in the office," said Morgan Delack, the director of communications at Finalsite, a Glastonbury-based education tech company.

Delack started at Finalsite in January after leaving her previous job, looking for full-time remote work.

"Even during COVID, I was required to report in person and with a young family and a lot of different obligations that came to light because of COVID that became increasingly more challenging for me and that was really impacting my home life," said Delack.

Credit: Morgan Delack

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Delack is not alone in reassessing her career priorities, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

In August, a record 4.3 million workers quit their jobs, piggybacking on previous record months. The resignation rate hit a 20-year high of 2.9%.

Industries with the most quits included hospitality, food service, and retail.

"In all the years I have been doing this work, I have never seen this," said Nina Pirrotti, an employment lawyer with Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, PC. 

Pirrotti said the Great Resignation can be linked to the pandemic.

"For years as an employment lawyer, I have looked at individual circumstances where employees have been impacted by major life events like a death in the family or divorce or even a termination from their job," she said. "Those events have caused them, triggered them, to think about 'am I really happy in my work?' What do I want to do next? Is this fulfilling? Do I want to be treated with respect and dignity? Am I making a good wage here? Am I able to have that work-life balance that I'm seeking? And those personal life events often triggered my clients to make that self-evaluation. This pandemic is causing that to happen on a massive scale because everybody is impacted by it."

At the same time, the labor statistics showed nearly 10.5 jobs remained open through August. Industries with the most openings included professional and business services, health care and social assistance, accommodation and food services, and retail trade.

"It's a hot market, it's hotter than I've ever seen it," said Armando Salvador, an assistant director product analyst at Moody's.

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Salvador left his previous finance job recently, looking for work in the same field.

Now, he's working remote full-time and making more money after considering multiple options.

"I think employers are starting to realize that employees have leverage now, especially in specialized fields so there's a shortage in specialized labor and people are starting to realize they can get a better work-life environment," said Salvador.

"I see it also as an opportunity for employers to look at their practices, to see how they're treating their workforce," said Pirrotti.

Finalsite CEO Jonathan Moser has taken that opportunity. Since the start of the pandemic, the company has switched things up to meet evolving employee priorities. 

One example: Moving to mostly-remote work operations.

"End of 2020, I said to our leadership team and our board that retention of our employees has to be one of our biggest things that we have to focus on in 2021," said Moser.

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As part of that mission, Finalsite introduced new perks, including a work abroad program.

Employees had the chance to work remotely at Villa Costa Vida, a villa in Costa Rica, with transportation, food, and lodging costs all covered by Finalsite.

"To feel appreciated is really nice and I think that's part of the great resignation is you think about how people have been feeling and if you have been working really hard to help a local restaurant stay afloat and put extra hours in and things like that, have you gotten a thank you?" said Rob Rawcliffe, a sales engineer at Finalsite.

Credit: Finalsite

"The world has changed. There is a level where we have to as leaders support our employees and make sure we're doing a good job to make sure they're comfortable and they can maximize what they're doing," said Moser.

As the world continues to change, Pirrotti said employees are wasting no time adapting.

"One thing that I think will happen as a result of this great resignation is that employees will go out and seek out other opportunities, other training, other education that may more align with their sense of fulfillment," said Pirrotti.

Angelo Bavaro is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at abavaro@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


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