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Texas A&M professor predicts 'wave' of job resignations as pandemic eases

Resignation by text
Posted at 10:16 PM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 10:54:13-04

CENTRAL TEXAS — Get your resume's ready because some experts see a sea of change in the American workforce.

A Texas A&M researcher and professor believes folks will soon jump ship for better jobs, in what could be, the biggest employment shift since the industrial revolution. The researcher says we can credit COVID-19 for this predicted change.

Jennifer Lamb sees mostly smooth sailing as she and her family start a gradual return to normal, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

She believes the workplace hit hard by COVID will recover too, as people come back to work.

"I wouldn't think that anybody would be more inclined to resign after the fact. I feel like there's probably going to be more people that want to get back into the workforce," she said.

"During the pandemic, a lot of individuals have done a lot of soul searching," said Anthony Klotz, Ph.D., of the Mays Business School.

Klotz sees storm clouds on the horizon, storms of discontent that will lead many to quit their jobs. You could almost call it a Tsunami.

"Individuals have done a lot thinking about what they want to do in life, and maybe have come to the conclusion that their current work context is not conducive as to what they want to accomplish in their life," he explained.

In short, the pandemic changed everything.

25 Investigates, wanted to know how he reached that conclusion.

Klotz says, it began in conversations tied to his usual research into job resignations. 25 News asked if revelation came through research, anecdotal evidence or both.

"As I had these conversations. As I thought about some of the other research that's going on during the pandemic that shows employees are burnt out, as I was reading the popular press about how people were feeling during the pandemic, a number of factors started to come together for me," said Klotz.

And the picture, he says, wasn't pretty.

"This fit between what's going on working from home and working in the office led me to sort of predict we're on the cusp of a large period of time where there's going to be a lot of resignations. So this is you looking at the puzzle pieces through the lens of your experience, and predicting what you think will happen," said Klotz.

However, none of the business or HR executives 25 News talked to put much stock in his “great resignation” prediction.

They admit some will move around as they always do. And maybe we’ll see a few more, but few expect anything approaching a “great resignation.”

Some would say that's because a business focused on the short-term sees sunny skies, and not the storm clouds that lie beyond.

Well-known economists say Klotz may be on to something and a wave of resignations signals good news.

"That's always a very good indicator of overall economic conditions in the sense that if you quit your job, that probably means you have a better job out there or you've been successful at that you have other alternatives available to you," explained Dr. Ray Perryman, of The Perryman Group.

So a rising tide could start a round of "musical chairs," or not.

"I don't know, I think people seek structure, after everything that's happened. So I think people will be less likely to take a risk," said Lamb.

Maybe, but there's a saying, "risk brings reward."

If you do plan to jump ship to a new job in the "great resignation" Derek Abella of Bloomberg BusinessWeek has a list of things to consider.