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The “Great Renunciation”, the labor phenomenon that the United States is experiencing

After a year and a half of the pandemic, and as a consequence of its effects, the United States is experiencing a unique social and labor phenomenon: Workers are quitting in unusually large numbers, a fact that sociologists dubbed the “Great Renunciation”.

This term was first coined by Professor Anthony Klotz, of the Mays School of Business at Texas A&M University, in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek.

The expert argues that people who had held onto jobs during the pandemic due to uncertainty are now ready to make a change and leave their current job in favor of something better.

I think there are many people who are considering making a change in their lives. and that often implies a turn in their careers, “said Klotz in an interview with the British network BBC Mundo.

The first sign emerged last April, when four million employees, 2.7% of the US workforce., they quit their job suddenly, setting a historic record. This phenomenon continued to grow.

In May 3,600,000 Americans quit, and it happened in different sectors of the economy, according to Gallup, the North American analysis and advisory company.

Changes, product of the crisis

A study by this firm reinforces the concept: “Businesses face a staggeringly high churn rate and a record number of vacant positions ”. Although at the same time he remarks that the resigners are looking for new positions, with better salaries or benefits.

“Workers in all job categories, from customer service positions to highly professional ones, are actively or passively looking for work at roughly the same rate,” says Gallup.

There is a lot of turnover in low-wage positions where people don’t really have a career progression. If you find a job that offers you just a little more, changing it has no cost for you, ”explains labor economist Julia Pollak to the BBC.

The causes

The causes that led to this kind of labor exodus are very different, although all are based on the special circumstances that people had to endure during the health crisis that shook the world.

“There are those who wanted to resign in 2020, but were forced to postpone their decision until this year due to the pandemic,” the experts explain to the BBC, adding: “Others suffer exhaustion from an excessive workloadl. There are also those who quit because they changed their life priorities ”.

The coronavirus pandemic, sociologists point out, offered many people the opportunity to make a balance of your work lifeas they were forced to work from home. There are, in addition, those who suffered the loss of their jobs or were suspended. This meant great pressure in very difficult circumstances.

On the other hand, traditional labor standards were modified in these pandemic months, prompting people to reevaluate what they seek, want and expect from their jobs.

There are numerous cases of employees who They quit because their companies forced them to return to the office, something they were not willing to do. They prefer to continue with teleworking or a flexible system that combines face-to-face with remote work.

For some specialists, the “Great Renunciation” is not only a product of the pandemic, but has to do with a trend of high labor turnover that comes a long time among the young. The health crisis, they add, only accelerated this process.

Others, like Anthony Klotz, see it as part of a deeper transformation of the American job market. And it states that lCompanies must adapt to the “new normal” so as not to lose the most talented employees.

“Those companies that offer greater flexibility in terms of remote and hybrid work have more possibilities to recruit workers globally,” he says.

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