Back-to-Business: “The Great Resignation,” “Quiet Quitting,” and “The Great Reshuffle,” what do they all mean?

The Back-to-Business column in The Medium focuses on business and economic news. Articles will address and analyze economic trends, financial developments, and workplace matters that are relevant to university students. 

According to Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index, around 53 per cent of employees are more likely to prioritize their personal well-being over work, and approximately 52 per cent of Gen Z and millennials are considering switching up their jobs within the next year. The data comes from survey respondents from 31 countries across the globe, including Canada.

This aligns with the contemporary trend of mass resignations and high turnover rates, culminating in the establishment of new terminology such as: “The Great Resignation,” “Quiet Quitting,” and “The Great Reshuffle.”

UTM Department of Management professor, Rafael Chiuzi, explains that the three terms are part of a similar wave that has inspired changing mentalities amongst many workers.

“The Great Resignation,” coined in May 2021 by University College London professor, Anthony Klotz, refers to a period in the pandemic when people began to leave their current jobs without the prospect of securing a new one. “I think a lot of people decided to reassess what they wanted for their careers,” said Chiuzi as he explained the exodus of workers from the workplace. 

A report prepared by Mental Health Research Canada highlights that during November and December of 2021, around 35 per cent of workers felt burnt out, marking the start of the Great Resignation.

“[‘The Great Resignation’] was a periodical thing. Now, I think we’re past that, and a new thing came along, which is dubbed ‘Quiet Quitting,’” states Chiuzi. Contrary to what its name suggests, “Quiet Quitting” does not imply that employees are quitting their jobs. 

In the phenomenon of “Quiet Quitting,” workers recognize the importance of setting personal boundaries to do “the bare minimum of what [they are] paid for without feeling any guilt of doing so,” shares Chiuzi. Essentially, workers stick to their contractual obligations and refuse to engage in uncompensated labour.

Last comes the “Great Reshuffle,” which concerns the phenomenon of increasing employee turnover. Workers are more open to changing companies or even switching careers altogether, placing their values and visions ahead of loyalty towards an employer.

Statistic Canada’s Labour Force Survey from August 2022, demonstrated that the proportion of permanent employees aiming to switch jobs within the next year reached 11.9 per cent in August, which doubled from January’s 6.4 per cent. 

Most businesses are aware of the shift in employee attitudes. For companies that are more responsive and democratic, remote or hybrid work and four-day work weeks are among some initiatives put forth to increase flexibility. An example would be Twitter, which allows its employees to work from the office, at home, or both. 

“Quiet Quitting” and the “Great Reshuffle” have implications for both working individuals and people entering the workforce. Students aspiring to pursue their dream job may run into both obstacles and opportunities due to the ongoing phenomenon. “For my students, I see that they’re going to have to pick between stability and boldness,” says Chiuzi. 

The current workplace encourages risk-taking—though the trade-off is increased volatility. On the other hand, students are exposed to more options and opportunities to kick-start their career than they were in the past, which carries promising long-term implications. 

The Covid-19 pandemic spurred workers to reimagine their career goals, resulting in shifts in the workplace, and empowering employees to take control of their professional lives.

News Editor (Volume 49) | — Larry is a third-year student specializing in accounting. He finds writing to be an outstanding medium to spread messages, thus being a phenomenal way to express oneself and to have one’s voice heard. Through his contributions to The Medium , Larry hopes that everyone can witness how enjoyable and invigorating writing can be, such that they too may be inspired to write out their stories. When he’s not studying or writing, Larry will probably be learning Japanese or listening to music, all the while contemplating what life’s next story would be.


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