She was baptized “Great Resignation” o “Big quit”. It is a phenomenon born in the United States, during the pandemic, which seems to have consolidated, and has also resulted in Europe, albeit on a smaller scale. Italy did not stay out. The phenomenon consists in an increase in voluntary resignations by male and female workers who do not necessarily move directly to another job and therefore, substantially, give the impression of having decided for a radical life change, starting from their own work.
I’m 1.66 million resignations from work recorded in the first nine months of 2022, up by 22% compared to the same period of 2021 when they were 1.36 million. This is what can be deduced from the tables in the last quarterly note on the mandatory communications of the Ministry of Labour.
Among the causes of termination of employment relationships, resignations constitute the highest share after fixed-term contracts. The layoffs also go up: between January and September 2022 there were around 557 thousand against 379 thousand in the nine months of 2021, with an increase of 47% compared to a period in which the blockade was in force.
It is useful to ask where this trend came from and what are the factors that fueled the explosion of voluntary resignations.
“The phenomenon is still to be studied”, admits the President of the Legacoop Studies Office Mattia Granata.
“The hypotheses on which we are moving, and which in truth we are all also experimenting on ourselves, is that the pandemic lasted a long time, two years, enough to question your normalcy. Furthermore, it has put people, human and social relationships, families, and obviously work, a crucial element of the times, places and conditions of life, under severe stress”.
“All these aspects seem to have come under scrutiny and have inevitably been questioned; it can be assumed that this increase in resignations falls within this sphere: it is a social consequence of the pandemic”.
So Covid has changed us
Factors of an economic nature or relating to the quality of life may have weighed on the desire to leave the job, but according to the President of the Legacoop Research Office, “in both cases the starting point of the analysis is the same, i.e. the pandemic has changed everyone’s lives and probably not just the way of life but also priorities, hopes, objectives and economic and social behaviours”.
In the United States, where the phenomenon appeared first and on a large scale, it seems that the prevailing reason for the resignations it’s not the salary. “More or less everywhere, in this period, other aspects are emerging – explains Granata – the quality of work and life, the need for satisfaction, self-fulfillment, social and personal growth, greater ‘freedom’. The effort and concern of the past months, remote working, the dad, have prompted people to seek a new ‘meaning’ in what they do and in their lives”.
A recent research by AreaStudi Legacoop-IPSOS shows that personal stability, growth and fulfilment are increasingly required of one’s work, in addition to income, of course. Moments of crisis are precisely those in which one wonders about one’s own happinessmaybe that’s what’s happening.
According to experts, a more comprehensive, “holistic” approach is needed today: minimum wage, education and training, active labor policies, raising wage levels, universal services to people and welfare. “If we want to involve all the forces and talents that this country has – underlines the expert – it is clear that we need to act on all the conditions that have so far worked in reverse, to exclude rather than include. Now the PNRR can and must also be the tool to resolve many long-term structural distortions”.
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