Business research

NAB Behavioral Insights – Big Resignation

More than one in five Australians have changed jobs in the past year. Almost 1 in 4 are considering doing so, and many are considering changing roles in a new industry or taking a career break.

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The Great Quit is a phenomenon that predicts people will voluntarily quit their jobs in record numbers as the pandemic encourages rethinking of careers, work-life balance and long-term goals. This is happening just as the economy is reopening and the demand for labor is increasing. In some countries, notably the United States, there is evidence that this is indeed happening.

But what about Australia? After 2+ years of COVID-related disruptions, should companies prepare for a seismic shift in the workforce? Opinions vary, with some predicting that millions of exhausted workers will quit their current jobs, while others have dismissed the phenomenon with no evidence of similar attitudes here. In this report, NAB surveyed over 1,200 full-time and part-time Australians about their employment behaviours, attitudes and intentions.

The results suggest that after decades of low employee turnover, a very large share of the adult labor force has actually left or is considering leaving their current job. Just over 1 in 5 Australians have changed jobs in the past year and almost 1 in 4 are considering leaving their current workplace. More than one in three Australians considering changing jobs said COVID had a big impact on their decision. Importantly, the survey also reveals that many of the top reasons workers consider leaving their jobs are “push” factors – a lack of personal fulfillment, purpose or meaning, lack of growth career paths, mental health, poor pay and benefits. Many Australians considering a job change are also looking for a fresh start, with around 3 in 10 planning to move into a different or new role in a new industry. NAB research suggests employers need to do more if they want to retain staff, especially in certain sectors. The results are based on responses from more than 1,200 Australian workers during the survey period from November 25 to December 13, 2021.

Get all the insights in NAB Behavioral Insights – Australia’s Great Resignation