February 10, 2022

NAB Behavioural Insights – Great Resignation

Over 1 in 5 Australians have changed jobs in the past year. Almost 1 in 4 are considering it, with many planning to move to a new role in a new industry or take a career break.

The Great Resignation is a phenomenon that predicts people will voluntarily leave their jobs in record numbers as the pandemic encourages a rethink of careers, work-life balance and long-term goals. This occurs just as the economy re-opens and demand for labour increases. In some countries, notably the United States, there is evidence this is indeed occurring.

But what about Australia? After more than 2 years of COVID disruptions should businesses prepare for a seismic shift in the workforce? Opinions vary with some predicting millions of burnt out workers will leave their current employment, while others have dismissed the phenomenon with no evidence of similar attitudes here. In this report NAB asked over 1,200 Australians working full or part time about their employment behaviours, attitudes and intentions.

The findings suggest after decades of low employee turnover there is indeed a very sizeable share of the adult working population who have left or are considering leaving their current job. Just over 1 in 5 Australians have changed jobs within the last year and almost 1 in 4 are considering leaving their current place of employment. Over 1 in 3 Australians considering changing jobs said COVID has had a big impact on their decision. Importantly, the survey also finds that many of the key reasons workers are contemplating leaving their jobs are “push” factors – a lack of personal fulfillment, purpose or meaning, lack of career growth, mental health, poor pay and benefits. Many Australians who are considering changing jobs are also looking for a fresh start, with around 3 in 10 planning to move to a different or new role in a new industry. NAB’s research suggests more must be done by employers if they wish to retain their staff, particularly in some sectors. Results are based on the responses of over 1,200 working Australians during the survey period 25 November to 13 December 2021.

Get all of the insights in NAB Behavioural Insights – Australia’s Great Resignation