The Covid-19 pandemic has made a lasting impact on the job markets in the UK and US, notably, the emergence of a trend that researchers are calling the “Great Resignation,” characterized by a sharp rise in workforce resignations.
This is a unique situation from a global perspective, and other countries have not shown a significant increase in resignations. But following a series of fluctuations in the job market, the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) set out to investigate whether Israel may be experiencing the same trend.
“There was talk about a Great Resignation, similar to what’s going on in the US, in Israel, and I wanted to check the facts before trying to explain why people are leaving the labor market,” Daphna Aviram-Nitzan, director of the IDI’s Governance and Economy Center, said in a report.
An analysis of Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) data carried out by Aviram-Nitzan, the lead writer of the report, and her team at the IDI revealed that the early pandemic period saw a large spike in resignations as the initial lockdown and uncertainty rolled through the nation. This was followed by a brief decline in May, until the steady rise from April to September.
The total number of employees who have resigned was 142,000 as of September, or about a 30% increase from April’s 109,000, the survey showed. Overall, compared with the situation at the beginning of the pandemic (January-February 2020), resignations have increased 8%.
This steady rise following a sharp drop looks less like an exploding trend, Aviram-Nitzan said.
“It looks more like a correction, a period that people were afraid or not confident enough to change places of work,” she said.
Most of the increases in resignations are characterized by a sense of confidence and certainty – feelings that arise during periods of relative calm in the ongoing pandemic drama, the report said. The recent rise “is characteristic of a period of economic recovery, when workers feel more confident to leave their place of work, as the demand for employees increases,” it said.
In light of the recent rise in resignations, employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find willing employees and have received more and more requests for part-time and work from home. Additionally, those who have resigned very rarely return to their original field of work once they seek new employment.
Experts have cited a possible change in employees’ perception regarding the balance between satisfaction in one’s position and fiscal compensation.
As for when the rising number of resignations can be called a Great Resignation rather than a mere correction, Aviram-Nitzan suggested that such a claim is nearly impossible to make during such an unpredictable period.
“If you told me when the pandemic was going to end, then I’d know how to answer that question,” she said.
The statistics bureau records the reason for ending work only for those who were employed during the last two years and stopped working. Therefore, the data used in the report does not include those who resigned more than two years ago, or who retired or were fired. All the data presented refer to the main working ages of 25-64.