The great resignation – what is it?

Jan 7, 2022 | Corporate culture

Resignations are increasing so much in the United States that it is called the Great Resignation phenomenon. This phenomenon also affects Europe. What about Switzerland?

The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation is a phenomenon identified by Anthony Klotz, professor at Texas A&M University.[1] Resignations are at an all-time high in the United States. As an example, in August 2021, almost 4 million employees were quitting (compared to an average of around 2.5 million over the last 10 years).

According to the newspaper Le Temps [2]In Switzerland, “the equivalent of the American statistics on departures does not exist. The Federal Statistical Office (FSO) publishes the turnover rate of the workforce once a year. And the latest figures are, of course, from 2020. Nevertheless, they show that this rate, including dismissals, is on average around 15%. Roughly speaking, one in six workers changes jobs every year. As far as voluntary departures are concerned, in 2020, as in previous years, there are between 6 and 7% of workers who changed jobs because they were dissatisfied, to see something else, to go back to school or for private reasons, such as childcare.”



Why does talent quit?

Talent has the power today. The labor market follows the law of supply and demand. And right now, there is a high demand from employers, and not enough talent in the market. Job offers in Switzerland recorded a 47% increase in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period of the previous year. In Switzerland, a Manpower survey conducted last year showed that 83% of employers surveyed are finding it difficult to hire.

“The market is very dry when it comes to expert profiles. Letting competent profiles go costs companies a lot of money,” says Jean David Hirschy of the recruitment firm Roche & Hirschy Executive Search.

While for a long time the belief was that salary was the primary attraction and retention factor, numerous post covid reports have shown that the factors are more complicated than that.

The Covid-19 health crisis has led us to reflect on our lives and to question our projects and actions. According to psychologist and burn-out specialist Catherine Casey, semi-confinement, by disrupting our daily rhythm, made us realize what we were missing and, in some cases, pushed us to give up.[3]

According to economists like Mark Zandi, there is no single factor that determines this behavior. It is rather a set of diffuse burdens: salaries that are no longer sufficient, lack of career development opportunities and increasing responsibilities, to grueling working conditions punctuated by the fear of the next COVID-19 variant.[4]

“In the last year, we have seen a paradigm shift. Employees are placing increasing importance on reputation, management style and flexibility.

Will a company that offers a single day of work from home be sufficiently competitive against another company with a more flexible approach to telecommuting? “Michel Roche of the recruitment firm Roche & Hirschy Executive Search

However, the salary is not to be neglected.

“The salary component is important. Be careful not to cut corners on benefits, as this can lead to a loss of talent. Paying for training can be an alternative that fits into the package. Developing talent internally is key for both the individual and the company. Companies would do well to develop internal talent pools,” says Jean-David Hirschy.



How can employers retain their employees during this time?

To retain talent, offering a good salary is no longer enough. According to an EY study[5]the atmosphere at work is a determining factor for 18-40 year olds. “According to a study by the consulting firm EY conducted in Switzerland, Germany and Austria, more than 60% of 18-40 year olds are sensitive to this in these countries. Salary is relegated to second place”.

“Verbalizing recognition is essential. Too often, we hear talents say “we are never thanked”. or even “My end-of-year interview took place in 15 minutes between two doors,” says Jean-David Hirschy

Companies must be able to adapt to change and work on their values and concrete actions. If your employees feel valued in a flexible work environment where they adhere to the company culture, and where they can also develop their skills, including soft skills, they will have less reason to look for another job.[6]

“Employees no longer want to suffer from a bad atmosphere or go to the office with a sinking feeling,” according to Jean-David Hirschy

How can employers recruit their employees during this period?

Recruitment processes play a key role in this talent shortage.

“There is a real need for responsiveness in recruitment. Recruitment processes need to be accelerated with regular feedback to increase the likelihood of success.”

“Sometimes, instead of looking for a five-legged sheep, hiring a candidate who does not have all the skills, but whom the company can train, can be an excellent strategy. The candidate will be all the more grateful.


According to the employment barometer for the first quarter of 2022, there will be more than 100,000 vacancies on the Swiss job market, a trend that is likely to increase with the demographic effect of the retirement of the baby boomers. In this context, talent management is a major challenge for companies.

At 123NextGeneration , we help businesses adapt to the challenges of tomorrow. We support you in the long term in a holistic way in key areas such as your digital communication, your brand image, your corporate culture, your management of intergenerational talents, in particular for more visibility and attractiveness and performance of your company.

We offer customized training, consulting and communication services dedicated to companies and their talents.

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