While there are still 7.9 million more unemployed people today in the U.S. than before the pandemic (February 2020), office-using employment accounts for only 974,000, or roughly 12%, of this deficit. Most of the employment growth ahead will be from the hard-hit, but rapidly rebounding, service sectors. But we expect robust expansion across the board and intensifying competition for skilled labor. One key metric that supports this theory is the employee quit rate. Against the backdrop of last year’s economic uncertainty, voluntary resignations fell to near-record lows as employed workers largely “sheltered-in-place” and postponed career moves. But the latest data suggests that a surge in turnover has already begun to occur.
In this paper, we explore why employers are about to experience heightened levels of employee turnover and the role of WFH trends. Employee polling data indicates that WFH strategies may have played a major role in driving greater employee disengagement and higher levels of burnout. However, that same polling also demonstrates that workers want greater flexibility for remote work in the future. The confluence of these trends mean that employers will need to demonstrate flexibility and patience as they balance their need to reopen with employee concerns in the near-term or potentially risk even greater labor disruption in the months ahead.