A few months ago, the United States was the showcase of an unprecedented phenomenon: millions of people quit their jobs en masse completely voluntarily. It was called “the great renunciation” or “the great resignation”, and the phenomenon began to be exported to other countries, including Spain.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics’ latest Employment and Affiliation Report, in 2021 nearly 40 million Americans quit their job of their own volition. A trend that began to take shape during the coronavirus pandemic. In Spain, the figures are very far from those of the United States, but resignations are also on the increase.
As indicated by the reports of the Social Securityso far this year, our country has recorded the highest quit rates since data became available: around 30,000. In April alone, 5,500 people quit their jobs on their own initiative.
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The previous cap for resignations was in 2007, when amid the economic bubble, 4,700 workers were laid off from their job duties. The data indicates that in 2021 the trend in Spain was already on the rise. For instance, between January and March, there were approximately 2,000 resignations per montha number that gradually increased, with ups and downs, until it exceeded 3,000 in December.
This year, this momentum has continued, although it is very likely that it will slow down in the third quarter, as it is historically a period of high labor mobility due to the economic activity of the summer. Even if, for the moment, the alarms did not go off, the Minister of Labour, Yolanda Diazhad already had a meeting with the main unions last May to address this problem.
Millennials quit more
Although the range of reasons for resignations is very high, one of the main ones is the set of changes, professional and personal, that the pandemic has brought about. Lockdown, restrictions, telecommuting and uncertainty have caused many people to rethink their goals at work and in life.
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Analyzing the data, there is a fairly significant trend, and that is that the highest number of quits are occurring in the segment of the population that ranges from 30 to 45 years old. The generations already born in digital environments they have a different conception of working hours and methods, and value things like flexible working hours or the possibility of telecommuting much more.
Spain is not the USA
This type of phenomenon cannot be analyzed from the same angle, because each place is different and there are differentiating factors. To begin with, the job market in Spain is much more stable than that of the United States. Here, the law establishes a series of guarantees and rights that increase as the worker accumulates years in the company (such as severance pay or seniority pay, for example).
Spain is not the United States, but neither is the rest of Europe, at least the countries of the North. Our country leads the unemployment rate in the entire European Union with 13.3%, followed closely by Greece and Italy, and far behind nations like Germany, where currently only 3% of the population active does not work. In addition, the cases of overqualification are also numerous, which leads to gaps between supply and demand.
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In Spain, there is also the paradox that the highest resignation rate takes place at a time when the labor market is breaking registration records (more than 20 million in July).
Give up who can
By resigning from work, there is also a question of social class. Generally, those in lower socio-economic levels cling to work because it is their only means of survival. On the contrary, those who have savings or who come from wealthy families may take the risk of trying to change jobs or demanding better conditions in the one they have, because if things go wrong, the consequences will not are not so negative. They can afford to be wrong.
Precariousness or stress are other factors that explain, in part, the resignation from employment, but there are other factors. It is true that tangible issues, such as salary, are essential in deciding whether to accept or refuse a job, but there are other non-tangible ones, such as feeling valued by bosses or feeling motivated and satisfied with what you are doing.