The United States is currently in the middle of a huge labor shortage. In what most media outlets are calling the "Great Resignation", workers around the country are quitting at rates never seen before. This mass exodus from employment is putting the entire economy at risk, but it is also changing the way people talk about work.
First, the current mass resignation appears to be coinciding with Gen Z’s emergence in the workplace. It is bringing in new norms on how people perceive work and how it should be. For instance, we are seeing an increasing clamor towards jobs that people love.
Unlike in the past where careers were largely determined by pay and benefits, this new crop of employees wants to emotionally connect with their job. They want to love what they do. So, we are seeing a connection between jobs and values. People want to work in places that are aligned with their values and their vision of the world.
There is also a challenge on the traditional 9 to 5 and the measures of productivity used. For example, we have seen the rise of the 4-day workweek movement. Besides, people feel that the emergence of new technology can help enhance productivity so that employees can do more with less time.
After all, what is the point of going to work for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, to do a job that can be completed in 2 or 3 days a week? But this change in attitude is not going down well with Millennials, who are now the bosses in most of these companies. The idea of what it means to be a "hard-working employee” appears to differ a lot between Millennials and Gen Z’s.
Despite this, this new generation of workers is also taking advantage of traditional labor movements to push for changes in the workplace. The good old labor unions are still part and parcel of their strategy. We have seen a record number of strikes over the last few years and efforts to unionize have also gone up.
Employees are becoming more aware of their welfare. they care about their mental and physical health to a point where they are rejecting overworking. And there is also the new YOLO trend. More and more employees are seeing the traditional 9 to 5 as a shackle that prevents them from living fully.
For this reason, they are quitting good-paying jobs to pursue their passions. So, the question now is, will this trend change? Are we seeing a permanent shift in labor in the US? The answer is Yes. As of now, employers are dealing with huge shortages when it comes to labor.
As a result, competition to retain top talent is heating up. Some companies have had to revise their benefits to attract more employees. But more, these companies are changing how they perceive work, giving employees more days off, and allowing people to work from home whenever they can.