New horizons

Radical change allows workers to quit their jobs

This story was by Jacqueline Maley in the SMH recently. I’ve edited it for space. Covid-19 and working from home has changed the work dynamic. Post-lockdown, many workers are rethinking their relationship to their work.

In the US, workers are quitting their jobs in greater numbers than at any time since tracking began in 2001, according to The New York Times. The exodus is greatest in the hospitality industry but it is spread across all sectors, white and blue collar.

According to the Times, it is not a labour shortage so much as it is “a shortage of workers who are willing to accept the terms employers are used to offering them”.

in Australia, workers are voting with their feet. Surveys by Microsoft and PwC showed 40 per cent and 38 per cent (respectively) of employees questioned expected to leave their jobs in the next year. Workers have had a taste of flexibility and don’t want to go back.

Some workers are moving because they’ve decided life is too short to stay in a job they don’t like.

Others who stayed for financial security are now emboldened to put themselves on the job market.

The movement will place upward pressure on wages, which have been stagnant in real terms for about six years.

Immigration will be another important policy debate. Employers are already agitating to boost it but strong forces oppose it.

Major crises in history have always led to social change. Will a remodelling of our working lives be one of the changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic?

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