Talent Retention

Talent Exodus by Industry

Understanding the hardest hit sectors can help prepare for hiring needs.

By Marta Chmielowicz

Almost half of Americans expect to look for a new job as the pandemic continues. According to Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index Report, 41% of the global workforce is likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year -and that number jumps to 54% when considering Generation Z alone. Similarly, 46% of employees are planning to make a major pivot or career transition.

These alarming figures reveal a harsh new reality for employers: Although millions remain unemployed, workers are reevaluating their options and talking with their feet.

“We’re seeing that attrition volumes are spiking, and it’s not just those that have been on hold because of COVID. That coupled with the rise in severe labor shortages is concerning,” says Kristin Thomas, head of U.S. at Resource Solutions.

The mass exodus of employees is not hitting every industry equally. Thomas says that the manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and hospitality sectors are seeing high attrition due to fatigue and burnout.

“Employees in these sectors are deciding to change industries due to burnout,” she explains. “Frontline workers in retail and hospitality don’t feel safe in those roles, and many now have more opportunities to work from home. Manufacturing was short staffed to begin with but now there’s a wage war -people are willing to leave for a competitor for a minimal wage or schedule change.”

This is confirmed in the research: Nearly one in five Microsoft survey respondents say their employer doesn’t care about their work-life balance, over half (54%) feel overworked, and 39% feel exhausted.

Industries that rely heavily on technology talent, like banking, engineering, and pharma, are also being affected. “I’ve never seen such a high demand for tech talent,” Thomas says. “When people started working from home, these organizations had to adapt to a new way of working. Organizations need new technology to keep up with the market, and that has increased the need for tech talent. Those individuals are now able to demand remote work, higher salaries, different benefits packages, and more flexibility.”

To cope with these labor market trends, organizations across industries will need to rethink their employer value propositions or risk losing valuable talent.


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