The Great Regret

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February 6, 2023
Leadership & Development

The “Great Regret” (yes yes, buzzword bingo indeed 😊) is said to be the latest workplace trend, with the majority of professionals who quit their jobs last year wishing they could get a do-over, according to a new survey by Paychex.

Key Takeaways:

- 80% of employees who left their jobs during the Great Resignation regret it.

- Mental health, work-life balance, workplace relationships and the chance to get rehired all suffered as a result.

- 9 in 10 people reported changing industries after they resigned, and professionals who changed industries were 25% more likely than workers who remained in the same industry to regret their choice.

- Gen Z-ers have the most regret about swapping jobs during this time.

- It took 50% of respondents three to six months to find a new position. Another 39% searched for a new job for seven months or longer, while only a small percentage (11%) found one within a few months.

- 68% of employees say they have attempted to get their old jobs back, but only 27% of employers have rehired employees that left during this period. But more employers than ever are open-minded to the idea of “boomerang” employees returning to companies.

Interesting as these results are, some thoughts:

- The Great Resignation was probably a unique-ish phenomenon. In 2021, 47 million Americans quit their jobs to find new work and 50 million in 2022.

- The fact that it took a while for many of the quitters to find a new job seems unsurprising to me. I think it always takes a few months on average to find something new, ànd in the current lay-off and economically difficult environment this seems especially normal.

- Changing jobs is always stressful, even if the choice was yours. You have to get used to the new environments, you'll need to make new 'work friends', you have to grow into your new job, get to know a new industry, the culture might at first seem foreign to you,... There are a lot of adjustments to make and it takes a while before A. you get used to it and B. you are comfortable and happy in the new environment. So I think there will (at first) probably always be some regret when you change jobs at first, even if most people will never publicly admit to that. So I think we'll have to wait a bit before we officialize this as 'The Great Regret'.

- Perhaps we also should survey more than 354 employers and 825 employees who quit during the “great resignation”? That seems limited to me for drawing large scale conclusions?Interesting survey, but too soon too tell, I think.

Laurence Van Elegem
Laurence Van Elegem
Laurence has more than 10 years of experience in marketing, communications and disruptive innovation. Passionately curious, she is fascinated by the impact of technology and science on the way we work, consume and live our lives.
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February 6, 2023
Leadership & Development