The Great Resignation is really The Great Churn

Although people may be resigning, they are also signing new work contracts in their thousands, a new Prosperity Recruitment survey of digital media workers reveals.

The overwhelming majority of workers in the digital and creative sectors don’t want full-time office jobs and are instead demanding a hybrid/remote work option.

The latest 2021 Prosperity Recruitment survey has found that fully office-based roles are attracting 45% fewer candidates than hybrid/remote jobs.

“Full-time office for a lot of digital positions is going to be a hard sell in the future, especially with the younger generations, and employers might need to balance out the expectation to work full-time in the office with further incentives”

For Prosperity founder and CEO Gary Mullan the so-called ‘Great Resignation’ tag applied to the movement of hordes of office workers is misrepresentative of the fact that what is really happening is people are simply going for better roles that suit their lives and expectations. In reality, he says, it should be called ‘The Great Churn’.

Geek is chic

According to the Prosperity report, the digital media sector is still adapting to the upheaval from recent shifts in consumer and hiring patterns, with some trends here to stay and previous niche positions now highly in-demand.

UX and product designers, platform specialists and marketing managers are the most in-demand specialists according to the survey, with salaries growing by over 10% as companies deal with shortage of both experience and candidates.

The remote vs. hybrid arrangements is now as much a part of a job search as the salary, and companies are outbidding each other in both salary and benefits to snap up the best candidates.

Digital marketing and e-commerce in Ireland are still showing double-digit growth for this year, as larger companies invest in in-house teams and SMEs scramble for agency resources to place their products in an even more crowded market.

Skilled specialists are the most mobile talent, commanding the biggest rises in this year’s salaries from new employers.

Experienced managers are scarce and are leveraging greater flexibility and perks from their current and potential bosses.

Speaking with ThinkBusiness, Mullan said that the pandemic has changed workers’ expectations forever.

“Full-time office for a lot of digital positions is going to be a hard sell in the future, especially with the younger generations, and employers might need to balance out the expectation to work full-time in the office with further incentives,” he said.

“Hybrid working certainly can’t be applied in the same way across the board, there are greater and lesser tolerances for it among employers and workers, especially in collaboration-based industries. The key to resolving this is likely to be some intermediate figure that negotiates impartially for both parties as to where exactly the flexibility is, what expectations on both sides are and what happens when things ‘go wrong’.”

What younger workers want

The survey showed that young professionals entering the sector have high environmental and sustainability expectations for their employers.

“Younger workers starting out may fall into two categories: those that will learn better with in-person or close remote onboarding, and those that are happy to be provided with materials to train and can then fall in and participate as necessary. The former option will likely built interaction and negotiation skills, and will troubleshoot issues much faster. The latter option requires a company to have a comprehensive suite of learning materials, as well as the patience to let someone upskill by themselves.”

Great expectations

Mullan said that the so-called Great Resignation is in reality people emerging from the pandemic with greater expectations for themselves.

“The Great Resignation is a very attractive, dramatic concept that doesn’t show the whole picture. The truth is that it’s more like The Great Churn, where people are resigning to change career, find better job prospects, or are simply being headhunted. Ireland has never had so many people employed, so although people may be resigning, they are also signing work contracts in their hundreds and thousands.”

The survey points to nearshoring as the trend for the coming year; it’s nimble to set up, with qualified staff ready to go in just a couple of weeks.

“Nearshoring is essentially one company paying another to manage a worker remotely. The worker has the skills the original company needs, but isn’t available to work in the original company’s country. Therefore, they pay another company to employ the worker and to deal with any HR issues that arise.

“Irish companies need to get to grips with it – fast – due to the increasing skills shortage in the country, the slow pace of visas being issued, and the sheer convenience of outsourcing the complex bit of hiring foreign talent.”

Full report:

Prosperity Salary and Employment Survey 2022
John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.