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The Great Resignation – will it happen in Australia?

Much is currently being written about what is being termed “the Great Resignation” but there are still questions about whether we will see this trend happen in Australia.

Without a doubt, we are already seeing shifts in the way people live their lives. There has been a mass exodus from capital cities to other areas in the country as people look for both simpler, more back-to-grass-roots lives as well as cheaper real estate. COVID-19 and, for many, the move to virtual work during lockdowns has meant that these people no longer need to go into an office. Working from home means that home can pretty much be anywhere.

While experts are apparently warning of mass resignations and talking of an “anti-work” revolution, we’re yet to see if Australia follows the example of the US, (where, in August alone, 4.3M Americans left their jobs) and experiences it’s own great resignation.

With experts predicting this trend won’t hit Australia until March, there are still questions in our minds as to whether we’ll see the same thing happen here. Here’s our reasoning.

  1. Housing affordability. Australia is an expensive country to live in. The Median house price in Australian capital cities is currently $875,195 while in regional Australia it’s $545,063. For most of us, that requires a substantial mortgage and one that needs to be supported by a decent job.

2. Lifestyle affordability. While we’d all agree that the last two years has taken its toll on us, and many of us are experiencing job burnout, as Australians, we really love our lifestyle – and it comes at a cost. Australians love to eat out frequently, we love being entertained, we love our holidays (let’s face it, we have some of the most beautiful destinations in the world right here), we love to travel and we love our toys. That all requires a good job to support our spending.

3. Current freedoms. We’re lucky to be one of the freest societies on earth. The pandemic has meant that many of us are now free to work from home. Australia’s laid back attitude to all things extends, in many cases, to employers who are now happy for their staff to continue to work from home either part or full time. A recent study by OwlLabs showed that full-time remote workers are happier than non-remote workers and reported having better work-life balance, more focus and less stress. Couple that with more employers being willing to allow working from home to continue (happier employers, more likely to retain staff and lowered occupancy costs are the benefits to them), then Australians may well have little reason to resign.

While it’s probably fair to say that we will see some more signs of workforce movement, we question whether we will see the great resignation phenomena at the same level in Australia. Watch this space!

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