Four million Americans quit their jobs in April this year, breaking a 20-year record. That was only the beginning of the Big Quit: in August, another 4.3 million – about 2.9% of the workforce- left their jobs. Then, in September 4.4 million resigned despite there being a record number of job openings and a hardening of employment benefits.
This extraordinary mis-match between the supply of labour and the rising demand for employees is a phenomenon which US academic Anthony Klotz has coined The Great Resignation, or as others have gone on to label the trend, the Big Quit.
Whatever the causes – and we will come to those later – it’s a phenomenon which is being seen around the world, including here in the UK. It’s a paradox born out again by the latest ONS figures which showed we have a record 1.3 million of job vacancies – 388,000 more than the pre-Covid level.