The so-called “big resignation” is going strong, no longer just for job stiffness. Managers are also increasingly leaving their jobs in search of greener pastures.
The data shows that managers are leaving at a high rate, with many quitting even though the overall rate of employee quitting has dropped from its peak. The breadth of resignations could exacerbate an already tight labor market, as resignations in one field lead to resignations in another, a cycle that ensures big resignations — also known as big shakeups or big reconsiderations — don’t stop anytime soon .
Data on management departures comes from multiple sources. People analytics provider Visier found that the quit rate for managers rose from 3.8% in the first half of 2021 to 5% in the first half of 2022, a much larger increase than non-managers. Gusto, which provides payroll, benefits and human resources management software, found that the turnover rate for managers was flat in June compared to last year, while the turnover rate for non-managers fell. LinkedIn found that director-level turnover has grown much faster than entry-level personnel this year. The departure of bosses was also evident on recruitment platform ZipRecruiter, which said job postings for management positions were growing faster than overall job postings and now account for 12 percent of job postings, up from 10 percent in June last year.
To be clear, turnover rates remain high across job types and levels. Data released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that 2.8% of employed people quit their jobs in May. That’s slightly lower than last winter’s peak of 3 percent, but still high. In general, finding a different job has become a national pastime. According to Apptopia, an app marketing intelligence company, the number of people using the top job search apps is at an all-time high. Low-wage workers always make up the bulk of the workforce, and most quit. However, as the impact of the pandemic and existing trends such as an aging workforce continue, This The makeup of resignations has shifted to include more tenured, higher-paid workers and, increasingly, those in management positions.
“Resignations are climbing and moving into a category that’s not a foregone conclusion,” Joseph Fuller, a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School who leads its “The Future of Management Work” initiative, told Recode. “These are well-paid workers. , they may have invested heavily in educational credentials, training or building their careers at the company. They are managers and they leave in a very good environment – which should be concerning for the company.”
Their departures greatly affect the people who work for them and the companies they work for, both of which depend on managers to stabilize the situation during times of uncertainty. If managers are to leave, their company’s CEO will have to scrape by without them, at least for a while.
“It’s like the military relies on non-commissioned officers,” Fuller said. “If the sergeant and general suddenly resign, it doesn’t matter what the general’s lofty vision for winning the war is, someone has to take the beach down below.”
But on a larger scale, the mass resignation of bosses could lead to the resignation of more lower-level employees and other managers, thus perpetuating the “big resignation” phenomenon for longer.
why your boss is leaving
Bosses are human too, and they also face a number of headwinds that cause others to quit, including burnout and reconsidering the place of work in their lives. But the reasons they leave are also unique to management, and the task of recruiting and retaining employees is getting tougher at a time when people are leaving.
In a survey of managers, leadership software maker Humu found that retention and recruiting were the top two challenges they faced last year. People are constantly leaving their jobs for reasons like better pay, remote work and self-employment, and it’s management’s responsibility to replace them, which isn’t easy in this tight labor market.
Managers are also trying to lead their people through unprecedented change — adding to the stress they may not be able to handle.
“Many managers go into management not because they’re great people managers, but because they’re great technology contributors,” said Humu co-founder Jessie Wisdom. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the ability to manage emotions during difficult times and unprecedented burnout and help your team balance things they never needed to balance.”
She added: “People are going through tough times and as a manager you have to help them through it. Part of your job is pretty much being a therapist.”
A dispersed workforce also presents new challenges for managers. The vast majority of large companies have a hybrid model, with employees working from home and the office. Managing people across locations and trying to bring people back to the office who don’t want to go proved to be a major difficulty in managing.
Managers’ resignations are also the result of a plethora of opportunities elsewhere — both professionally and personally. According to Gusto, a third of managers who quit in May did so for career development reasons, compared with just 19% in non-managerial roles. The company also surveyed all types of employees on its platform and found that the number one factor in their acceptance or rejection of a job offer was flexibility. Nearly half said the ability to work from home part or full time would be the main or most important factor in deciding whether to accept a job offer in the future. Presumably, people in managerial positions are more likely to be in jobs where they can work from home, meaning they’re more likely to actually gain that flexibility — both in their current and future jobs.
Importantly, management, especially executives, is paid more and is therefore financially safer than what they charge, so they have more liquidity to resign.
“The pressure and demands on top management are still quite high,” said Steve Hatfield, Deloitte’s global head of the future of work. “The financial situation they’re in would give them an opportunity to think about doing something different. matter.”
This could also be a case of monkeys looking and monkeys doing. As more and more people in management positions quit, the idea of quitting as an option for other managers became more apparent.
What this means for the future of work
The data suggests that management departures are not short-lived and likely to continue for some time. Deloitte recently found that nearly 70% of executives are seriously considering quitting their jobs in search of jobs that better support their well-being, compared with 57% of other employees. Humu’s research shows that managers are twice as likely to churn as non-managers — something that hadn’t happened a few years ago.
This could become a self-inflicted situation.
When one manager resigns, another manager fills the vacancy, which can frustrate them further and can lead to their resignation. This can lead to their workers leaving without enough managers to be able to hire open positions, making the jobs of the remaining managers more difficult. Additionally, shortages can further exacerbate the situation by forcing companies to promote or hire unqualified people for those unqualified positions.
“We have this difficulty matching potential employees to the right roles, and managers are the ones primarily responsible for creating those matches,” said Luke Pardue, an economist at Gusto. “So when When they leave, their knowledge of the business and these roles disappears, and we may see the struggle to find the right person continue and the number of job openings increase.”
In other words, a management resignation could make a big resignation worse.
It’s also not attractive to potential job seekers who don’t know who their boss is. As Harvard Business School professor Fuller put it: “Would a baseball player sign with a team where you don’t know who the manager is?”
This uncertainty is not attractive to candidates with options. “As far as I know, they’re going to hire the biggest jerk with two legs,” Fuller said.
Of course, it’s not clear what the recession will mean for all of this. Of course, people don’t necessarily make life decisions based on a looming recession, but tend to act as if current conditions are predictions for the future.
What we do know is that managers are a vital part of how companies function, and they require a subtle set of skills, such as real-time judgment and people skills, that are difficult to develop on paper. Their ability to do so can have knock-on effects for the company and employees.
At this point, the Great Resignation has built so much momentum that it has become a force of its own. What is unclear is how long it will take to slow down meaningfully.