With the pandemic now in its second year, many people in the United States are rethinking how they feel about their jobs. After November 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 4.5 million Americans had left their jobs, while 10.6 million remained available.
Even though their professions can be done remotely and should be more reliable during a pandemic, software engineers lead the exodus.
People leaving white-collar office positions at a low rate suggest that the Great Resignation is more about the high demand for employees than a shift in how people see work. Even though some industries have been hit harder than others, it is also true that knowledge workers like developers have a prominent role in the Big Quit.
More than nine million employee records from more than 4,000 organizations across sectors were analyzed by the Harvard Business Review and showed that resignation rates are greatest in healthcare and IT. Researchers found that “resignation rates were higher among employees who worked in fields that had experienced extreme increases… likely resulting in increased workloads and burnout.”
We shouldn’t be surprised that healthcare professionals who have been fighting an outbreak for over two years are quitting. To what extent is the increased departure rate of software engineers posing problems for employees, supervisors, team leaders, and businesses concerned about knowledge loss and business continuity?
Come on, let’s do this.
Resignation is a direct result of exhaustion
According to Harvard Business Review, last year’s resignation rate in the IT industry increased by 4.5%.. Burnout is a problem for 83% of developers, and 81% think it’s become worse since the epidemic. Why are pandemic-related burnouts so common among software developers? There is a greater workload.
Many developers have been forced to leave their employment because of the outbreak, which has helped raise the need for programmers. Companies expedited their digital and cloud roadmaps in March 2020 so that their workers might work from home. Since software usage has risen, so needs programmers, which has led to a greater need for programmers.
Of course, this is good news in some respects. Talented developers should expect to get more job offers and better pay at times of high demand. However, it’s important to note that increased demand may also lead to burnout among developers. The number of software engineers quitting is so high that scarcity is anticipated, and not only in the United States.
A transformation in mindset
It’s not only employee exhaustion that’s to blame for the increased resignation rate. The outbreak, lockdowns, and a complete shift to working from home, profoundly affected many people. “The spread of the disease and the advent of distant labor have altered our perspective on our own lives and the rest of the world,” says UC Berkeley economist Ulrike Malmendier.
Disgruntled employees are being motivated to quit their jobs by “pandemic epiphanies,” according to Texas A&M psychologist Anthony Klotz, who coined the phrase “Great Resignation.” There are various ways to have an epiphany:
- If I were to work someplace else, I’d earn more money.
- It is time for me to be treated better at work.
- I’d want to take a few extra vacation days.
- I’m in desperate need of a more harmonious equilibrium between my professional and personal lives.
- I’d want to pursue a professional path that is radically different from my current one.
- Entrepreneurship is something that I’ve always wanted to do.
- Many of these insights are followed by the words “I quit.”
“We’re capable of more,”
Workers have a newfound feeling of self-confidence, and the Great Resignation is an expression of this newfound self-confidence in the labor-employer interaction. A gesture of hope that declares, “We can do better,” the Great Resignation” according to The Atlantic, while “quitting is a concept typically associated with losers and loafers.” We may consider the pandemic as “a significant turning point” in American attitudes about work, and perhaps the beginning of a healthy work-life balance, due to the pandemic.
We’ve concluded that our connection with work requires some attention. “People were able to reconsider their relationship to work as a result of the pandemic and government social safety net programs like prolonged jobless benefits,” Vox writes. American workers are particularly affected by this reassessment because work is considered a part of their identity, and they put in more hours than other industrialized nations.
A person’s finances are important, but they aren’t the only thing that matters.
It’s not strange for programmers to leave their jobs because they can earn more money somewhere else. For many developers, the value of the experience they gain in their current position outweighs any incremental raises they might receive every few years. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find qualified software engineers due to increased demand for digital transformation services and the Great Resignation. This has led to a rise in employers’ compensation to pay for high-value employees.
This data shows that about 75% of programmers either actively look for a new job or are interested in finding one. Asked why they were looking for a new job, about two-thirds of these developers cited compensation as the primary factor. 39 percent wanted to work with new technologies, 36 percent wanted a better work-life balance, and 35 percent wanted better leadership or growth opportunities.
Because some managers see developers as interchangeable and rechargeable technical resources rather than people, they neglect the happiness and well-being of their staff in the workplace. Devs quit when they see this kind of mentality. Everyone wants a job where they are appreciated and allowed to learn and progress in their careers. For an increasing number of software developers, this means going it alone.
Entrepreneurship is on the rise in the United States today.
Over the past two years, many people have left their jobs to work as freelancers, consultants, or entrepreneurs. When it comes to entrepreneurship and self-employment, “the pandemic has unleashed a historic burst.” Some people are looking for better-paying or more flexible jobs. In contrast, others are worried about being exposed to COVID, need to be at home to care for children or supervise online learning, or are simply tired of the rigidity of a 9-to-5 office job.
Unincorporated self-employment has increased by 500,000 since the pandemic outbreak, bringing the total to nearly 9.5 million, according to Labor Department figures. Accordingly, the number of self-employed people has increased by 6%, even as overall employment in the United States falls by almost 3%.
According to the Census Bureau, the number of new businesses registered in the United States from January through October of 2021 was up 56 percent from 2020, making it the highest number on record since at least 2004.
Developers are rethinking the way they do their job.
In our own 2021 Developer Survey, we noticed that the number of full-time developers has decreased (81 percent, a decrease from 83 percent in 2020). Developers working as independent contractors, freelancers, or self-employed increased from 9.5% in 2020 to 11.2% in 2021. This indicates that some developers are concerned about their job security or want more flexible work arrangements. Many of those programmers who are resigning are just reimagining how they do their jobs rather than quitting the industry altogether.
There is a downside to this trend toward self-employment. Firms may find themselves working with contractors or consultants for particular positions and projects, raising the potential for misunderstanding as individuals come and go.
A preference for skills above pedigree
The balance of economic power may be changing in favor of workers in the IT industry. Instead of looking at a person’s academic background (i.e., what can you do?). Over the last 20 years, content platforms have helped non-developers improve their abilities and facilitate the job of expert programmers. Many non-technical persons could get into the computer industry since some programmers began starting their own businesses. The industry’s working methods have been drastically transformed due to this steady tidal shift. Some programmers have been forced to quit their jobs, while others have gone into business for themselves due to it.
Developers have been fleeing corporate hierarchies, lengthy commutes, pricey cities, and destructive business cultures since the emergence of remote work ten years ago, and now the world is reaping the benefits of those seeds. As a result of the outbreak, many developers between 30 and 45 are leaving the industry. Those in their late 30s and early 40s are more inclined to start their enterprises than join an established corporation because of ageism and high entrance hurdles.
Managers and team leaders face a variety of challenges.
Managers and leaders of development teams have unique problems due to the Great Resignation. For starters, it takes a lot of effort and money to find and keep top-notch employees in today’s work market when individuals will no longer accept positions that don’t meet all of their requirements.
Additionally, high turnover rates are an issue. It takes time and money to onboard and educate new employees, but they leave behind a vacuum that another competent applicant must fill when they leave.
Companies need to ensure that they don’t lose valuable information when workers leave, speed up the onboarding process for new hires so they can get to work right away, and allow remote collaboration in an increasingly remote-first workplace.
In addition, firms and managers need to focus on preventing developer burnout, which contributes to many of these issues: stressed people resign, and the churn wastes resources and causes knowledge loss. Reducing attrition and burnout among your team’s developers may be accomplished in part by recognizing and appreciating their efforts and providing them with opportunities for professional growth.
Preparation for a boomerang outcome
Employees who have left for another firm or to work for themselves but have since discovered that the grass wasn’t truly greener are more likely to return to the company where their managers have created a favorable work environment. There are disadvantages to working for oneself, and few businesses are perfect. Managers must create a culture that treats all of their workers equally to attract and retain these “boomerang” personnel.
Managers of software development teams would be well to heed this advice. If they are welcomed back with wide arms, some developers who left their positions in 2021 will be eager to return in 2022.
Amid a change
The labor market is being reshaped in unexpected ways due to the Great Resignation. However, there is one apparent thing. Developers’ high rate of resignation should prompt organizations and managers to reassess their treatment of these workers, including their compensation, the level of respect and autonomy they have in their professions, the amount of flexibility they have, and how much work they are expected to do.
It’s a good time for developers to reflect on what’s working and what isn’t in their jobs and whether or not they’re considering quitting their jobs altogether.