Man waving goodbye to shocked colleagues in a bright airy office as he executes his great resignation, carrying a cardboard box.
Image: © Svitlana/

Great resignation: Survey suggests almost half of Irish workers plan to quit

14 Sep 2021

Workhuman’s survey indicates Ireland could be facing ‘the great resignation’ trend that has seized the US jobs market in recent months.

Almost half of Irish workers who took part in a survey carried out by Workhuman plan on quitting their jobs in the next year.

Workhuman, the software company co-headquartered in Massachusetts and Dublin, surveyed 3,500 workers in the US, UK, Ireland and Canada about their attitudes to their jobs and their connections to their companies.

It delved into the recent phenomenon known as ‘the great resignation’. This has been prevalent across the US for a number of months, with employees quitting their jobs in droves, and is expected to gain traction in Ireland in the coming months.

Workhuman’s survey indicated that 42pc of Irish workers plan to resign from their jobs within the next 12 months. In a 2019 survey, that figure was just 21pc.

The search for a new job was more pronounced in Europe than it was in North America. Almost half (46pc) of workers in the UK and 42pc of workers in Ireland said they were looking for new jobs, compared to 36pc in both the US and Canada.

The main reasons respondents gave for wanting to leave their role were a desire for greater flexibility and higher wages.

Many women respondents were looking higher pay, with 36pc saying their salary was too low, compared to a quarter of men. Men’s main reason for wanting to quit was flexibility. Around 36pc said they wanted a more flexible career, compared to 27pc of women.

Workers also said they wanted a mix of office and remote work. When asked to state their preferred way of working, almost half of respondents (47.5pc) said they want to split their time between the office and working from home.

Almost a third (32.5pc) said they would prefer to work remotely all of the time, while a fifth said they wanted to work in the office all of the time.

Escaping burnout and stress

Work culture, wanting a better title and a different boss also featured as reasons people wanted to leave their current positions. Burnout and stress were significant factors, too.

“After a year and a half of uncertainly and strain, Irish workers now have a very strong idea of what they will and will not tolerate at work,” said Derek Irvine, senior VP of client strategy and consulting at Workhuman.

“The upshot of this is that many are seeking new opportunities, which offer more flexibility and/or better compensation.”

Irvine warned that unless organisations take preventative steps, they could be facing “unprecedented levels” of employee turnover. “Sectors suffering from acute skills shortages, such as construction, technology and engineering, probably have the most cause for concern,” he added.

Last week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said ‘the great reshuffle’ would be a major trend in the world of work and leaders need to lead with empathy to retain talent post-pandemic.

“Care is the new currency,” he said in a conversation with LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky as both companies released data from global surveys around the topic of hybrid working.

Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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