Tech sector firms should brace for continued resignations

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There is no end in sight for the great resignation, with companies in the global technology sector expected to see the highest number of employees quitting their jobs.

This is according to PwC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2022 report released at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week. The research is based on a survey of 52 195 workers in 44 countries and territories, including SA.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a wave of mass resignations, widely termed as “the great resignation”. This is a global phenomenon in which employees voluntarily resign from their jobs en masse, beginning in 2020, primarily in the US.

According to the PwC survey, the great resignation is set to continue over the next 12 months, with one in five respondents saying they are likely to switch jobs in the next year – with the biggest motivator for a job change being a bigger pay cheque.

The survey found that 35% of people are planning to ask their employer for more money in the next 12 months. The highest pressure on pay is in the tech sector, where 44% of workers surveyed plan to ask for a raise, and plan to quit if they don’t get it. Salary pressure in the public sector is the lowest (25%).

Wanting a fulfilling job (69%) and wanting to truly be themselves at work (66%) emerged as the other things workers are looking for.

Nearly half (47%) of surveyed respondents prioritise remote working, and say they are willing to quit because their job doesn’t allow the flexibility to choose where they work from.

“There is a tremendous need for business to do more to improve the skills of workers, while being conscious of the risk of polarisation if opportunities to develop aren’t provided right across society,” says Bob Moritz, global chairman of PwC.

“At the same time, workers are not just looking for decent pay, they want more control over how they work and they want to derive greater meaning from what they do. These are linked: by acquiring skills, workers can gain control over the work they are looking for. Leaders have to adapt to build the teams needed to successfully deal with the challenges and opportunities of today and those yet to come.”

While there are no official statistics available to show the number of resignations in SA, the country has observed massive resignations in recent months, notes PwC.

According to local research by reward-management platform Remchannel, South Africans have been working harder than ever during the pandemic, a trend that has led to the great resignation unfolding locally.

In February, ITWeb reported that failure by South African-based non-executive directors to successfully harness digital technologies to make pertinent company decisions is one of the key factors contributing to SA’s great resignation.

According to PwC, in the US, resignation figures have been reported at anywhere between four million and 11.5 million employees, and by August 2021, there had been widespread pandemic-related resignations reported across the UK – 4.7% of the workforce.

In Europe, Forbes magazine reports that up to 40% of the global workforce is considering changing jobs post-pandemic.

The PwC survey also highlights significant differences between generations – with Gen Z workers being less satisfied with their job and twice as likely as Baby Boomers to be concerned that technology will replace their role in the next three years.

To close the skills gap, workers say companies are investing in the current workforce through upskilling and increasing remuneration.

“One of the most important drivers of polarisation is skills − with large differences between workers who have highly valued skills and those who do not,” says PwC.

“The data shows that those with in-demand skills (29% of the sample feel they have skills that are in short supply in their country) are more likely to feel satisfied with their job (70% versus 52%), feel listened to by their managers (63% vs 38%) and have money left over after they pay their bills (56% vs 44%).”

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