A Great Resignation 2.0 is simmering as employees feel overworked and underpaid, forcing them to look for greener pastures

More people are now mulling their options as they increasingly feel overworked and underpaid amid relentless cost pressures. 

Employees feel so bogged down by work that far more people are considering resigning now than during the mass resignations we saw in 2022, auditor PwC found in its Global Workforce Hopes & Fears Survey published Tuesday, covering over 56,000 workers worldwide.

The report, with nearly half of its respondents being Millennial, followed by Gen X and Gen Z employees, found a staggering increase of 28% in the number of people who plan to change jobs, compared to 19% during the Great Resignation in 2022.

Their reasons? Higher workload, career ambitions and new technology wriggling into the workplace. 

Nearly half of those surveyed said their workload had increased “significantly” in the last 12 months. Workers are also nervous about how much they are being paid, with 43% keen to ask for a pay rise. That’s not all—62% of employees feel like the pace of change in the workplace has also ramped up during the same period, especially as they’ve had to adapt to new tech tools in their jobs and increased financial pressure. 

To add to the mix, employees’ personal goals to expand their skill set and further their careers are also prompting them to consider jumping ship.

Overall, more workers feel better off moving to a new role, hoping to find some respite. 

“Workers around the world are increasingly prioritising long-term skills growth and looking to organisations that can help them facilitate this,” Carol Stubbings, PwC U.K.’s global markets and tax & legal services leader, told Fortune, adding that emerging technologies like generative AI and its applications at work remain front and center for employees.

“Ultimately, employees may be looking to switch for a variety of reasons, many of which will depend on their unique circumstances and the broader trends facing their geography, industry, and role.”

Other studies on the subject have also indicated similar results—for instance, a LinkedIn and Microsoft survey published earlier this year covering 31,000 people worldwide revealed that an even higher proportion of people were inclined to quit their jobs in the year ahead than during the pandemic.

Europe and its growing pool of quitters

The Great Resignation may have taken off in the U.S., but Europeans haven’t been spared. Countries like France and Germany have also faced dilemmas surrounding their job, pay and benefits in the last few years.

Even in the U.K., more workers have considered quitting their jobs following the pandemic than during it. Worker dissatisfaction has come at a time of elevated interest rates and living costs, pushing more of them to consider looking for greener pastures. It doesn’t help that employees are also giving up on their jobs by quietly quitting from the workplace, impacting their productivity. 

“It’s essential that leaders prioritise well-being as a core value and critical enabler of performance within their organisation. Overstressed and distracted workers are less likely to perform well,” the PwC report said.

These trends point to a continuation of the Great Resignation. The only difference? We’ve moved from a period marred by lockdowns and remote working to one that’s relatively “normal” but still facing new challenges. 

AI is one them, PwC’s report found. Such platforms can help increase efficiency, making them invaluable in the future workplace.

Most CEOs think tech is the reason for new changes at work, but very few employees use generative AI-powered tools regularly. That doesn’t mean they aren’t optimistic about AI, Stubbings said.

The study found that 72% of the infrequent AI users among the respondents think the tech will improve the quality of their work, while half of them believe it will lead to higher salaries.

The catch for employees shifting their gaze elsewhere is that most of those who quit their jobs eventually regret their decision, data suggests.  

But will that stop the burgeoning pool of workers considering quitting? Maybe not. However, PwC suggests managers step up in helping employees navigate the tricky balance between all the changes at the workplace and not feeling swamped while at it. 

“Companies need to create guidance and mentoring about the types of skills employees need to build. It’s also important to create a culture of learning, where freeing up opportunities for learning is part of the organisation’s DNA,” PwC said in its report.

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