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What’s Driving the Great Resignation?

New survey highlights importance of higher paychecks, greater flexibility
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
grocery worker general
The Conference Board found that flexibility and generous time off are bigger priorities for younger workers, and might entice them to stay in their current role.

It’s not surprising that most people, when given a chance, would like to make more money. A new study affirms that many workers resigned from their jobs for higher-paying ones amid the tumultuous job market of the past two years.

According to research conducted by The Conference Board think tank, nearly a third of people who resigned from their jobs during the pandemic are getting paid at least 30% more in their new positions. Compensation still weighs heavy on workers’ minds, as 62% say they are concerned their paychecks won’t keep pace with higher inflation.

Although the survey included insights on remote work and people who work in office settings, there were several findings with implications for grocery employers. For example, in addition to outlining the trend of job shifts for higher compensation, The Conference Board found that flexibility is a growing priority for people in the labor market. Flexibility was identified by 71% of respondents as a top priority, driven by keen interest among Millennials and Gen X employees.

People of working age are also re-thinking the work-life balance. More than half (54%) of men now prioritize generous paid time off, with 71% of women citing that benefit. Here, too, demographics make a difference, with 72% of Millennials wanting more time off compared to 65% of Gen Xers and 58% of Baby Boomers.

From a retention standpoint, workers who are considering leaving their jobs say that salary increases, flexibility and promotions might keep them from leaving. 

“These results reveal that holding onto workers amid historic quit rates is about more than money,” said Rebecca Ray, EVP of human capital at The Conference Board. “While competitive compensation remains important, workers’ priorities have shifted: Flexibility is now table stakes. Workers clearly value their time, as well as the core benefits employers provide. Fostering professional growth and providing flexibility where possible are just as important to retaining talented workers as ensuring that employees are well-compensated.”

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