They are missing everywhere: workers. A large wave of layoffs has also hit companies in Germany. Her name: “The Big Quit” – the big farewell. Employers have to make an effort.

Some speak of “The Big Quit”, the big farewell. The others call it: “The Great Resignation”. Behind it are not employers who en masse give their employees the pass. Qualified workers who simply give up, who find it too much, who no longer believe they can do a good job where they are, are the ones who are giving notice of termination much more frequently.

The consulting firm PWC, formerly Price Waterhouse Coopers, has surveyed 52,000 employees in more than 40 countries about their wishes and hopes for their vision of their future at work. The result is a picture that also appears in similar studies all over the country. Desire and reality drift apart, and it is not always the desires that are to blame. Sometimes it’s reality.

Everywhere in Germany, the service industries, trade, gastronomy and crafts are sounding the alarm. The labor market seems empty, but there is by no means full employment like in the days of the economic miracle, that was almost 70 years ago. But the customers of the employment agency, the job seekers with the private agencies, even the clientele of the headhunters, where executives get in touch – they all have apparently become more selective.

Long and strenuous working hours, customer service for the increasingly complaining clientele, sometimes also a payment that is sometimes perceived as bad in times of high and higher inflation, these are the ostensible arguments of those affected not to even consider certain job offers. Others hand in their farewells and leave forever: part-time workers whose contribution to the household income is no longer that important because the cottage has been paid off or the children have left home. Older and therefore experienced service staff, who are bringing their retirement forward, are not available behind the counter or on the shelves. And don’t forget: More than 200,000 Germans emigrate every year, by no means only pensioners, and are looking for a new start elsewhere.

Kim Parker, a researcher at the American think tank PEW, also confirms these findings. About 40 percent of those surveyed by their team who changed jobs or left the workforce in the past year cited overworking hours as the main reason. Added to this was the corona pandemic, which affected working life across all industries and caused frustration in many places. This aligns with findings from the PWC study, which found higher levels of dissatisfaction among workers who do not have a desk at work – i.e. those who cannot work from home. And these are exactly the ones that are now being desperately sought after.

In the logistics warehouses, on the retail shelves, in the production team at car manufacturers and machine builders. The internationally active Gallup Institute, known for survey research, has now determined that employees in Germany are more willing to change jobs, following the example of the USA. Gallup says the job market is becoming more volatile.

Almost a fifth of the employees do not see themselves in their current job in the next three years, and at least 15 percent are actively looking for a job. Every sixth employee in Germany has already given notice internally. Only 16 percent of employees feel connected to their employer. Employee retention is different. The Gallup’s Engagement Index mercilessly reckoned with the HR work of German companies.

PWC also calls the results of its study a “wake-up call for employers”. Of course, researchers around the world also asked: What can be done to counteract the deficiency? This clearly resulted in dissatisfaction with the pay and an excessive workload. But above all, the so-called “soft factors”: lack of appreciation from superiors, for example. Or the desire to be better informed of the value and benefit of one’s own work and its importance for the overall picture of the company.

Added to this is the desire for concrete offers from employers that make everyday life easier for employees. Childcare is at the forefront, as is the opportunity to work less at times. It looks as if many companies will have to think more about these issues than before. The traditionally most important employers with the most employees in Germany should actually have an advantage, namely the family businesses.

In many of them there is a much shorter line between the workforce and the bosses than in anonymous large corporations. An improvement in the climate here could also bring a very concrete benefit for the company’s balance sheet, because some frustration is also generated by the fact that suggestions for improvement from employees get lost, even if they could demonstrably contribute to the quality of the processes and the product.

But none of the experts promise quick solutions. In Germany, demographics also play a role, forcing the largest active group on the labor market, the so-called baby boomers, to retire in the next few years. Paradoxically, there are still numerous sectors, and above all the public service, which in many cases categorically enforces retirement from the age limit – professors who retire from their university and sometimes continue researching and teaching abroad for another ten or 15 years are a famous notorious example.

Employers are therefore well advised to try out new avenues with a view to the future of their own company. In addition to the demand for appreciation of your employees, which sounds almost self-evident, this includes flexible solutions, constant listening to the needs of customers and employees, and showing opportunities and opportunities for employees. Good pay is just one more factor that can allay the fear of limitations in everyday life, especially in times of inflation. Of course, the latter is not good news for industries that often operate at the financial limit, and price increases cannot be enforced everywhere.

In times of upheaval – be it digitization, globalization or even its reversal, new forms of living and working together – uncertainty naturally increases on all sides, and some who resign do not even know at first what kind of future they imagine. It is possible that those who have temporarily left working life are also tempted by a creative design of the possible new workplace.

Even simpler activities don’t have to be boring. It is often the case that no one has ever approached the question with imagination. Uwe Göthert, Managing Director of the training provider Dale Carnegie Germany, says that improving the “Employee Experience” on a daily basis is a top priority for future management. And for many companies, the decision about rise or fall.

The article “”The Big Quit”: The wave has been building up for a long time – now it’s reaching Germany” comes from WirtschaftsKurier.