In August of this year, a record 4.3 million workers in the United States quit their job. Now, there’s fear the “Great Resignation” is coming for Australia.
For the last two years, unemployment and workforce retention have been high priorities in everyone business around the world. However, while the pandemic has left many workers feeling burnt out or underappreciated, the numbers in Australia are not as dire as they may seem.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported around 1.1 million Australians left their jobs between February 2020 and February 2021. Although that may seem like a lot, it’s actually about average.
There are a few reasons why Australia’s job market is reacting differently to the States. For one – save for some notable exceptions – Australian office workers haven’t been massively affected by lockdowns and high case numbers. In many parts of the country, workers have been back in the office for well over a year.
A second factor is our vaccination rates. Despite our slow start to the race, a significant portion of Australians have already received one or both doses, with boosters already lined up. This, together with the (relatively) small impact Covid-19 has had on most of the population, has negated much of the fear of returning-to-work experienced in other parts of the world.
If it’s not a Great Resignation, what is it?
The last twelve months have been the catalyst for millions of employees across the globe to re-evaluate their relationship with their work. Some are realising they no longer want to work 100 hours a week, others have had a taste of flexible working and are never looking back.
Lawyers aren’t necessarily looking at leaving the profession, but they are looking at leaving teams which are poorly lead or which aren’t offering competitive remuneration or post-lockdown benefits.
Gone are the days when law firms could require their staff to be onsite 20 hours of the day with no fear they would leave.
With almost every area of law expected to grow in the next 12-18 months, and international borders once again opening the possibility of secondments in less-locked-down cities, it’s an employee’s market. Firms need to be prepared to give their lawyers what they’re asking for.