Why are People Quitting Their Jobs Now? A Perspective from Paul Endacott, CEO of GRIT

August 5, 20213:08 pm2751 views

The largest work-from-home (WFH) experiment during the pandemic has not only changed the way we work. It also alters the way talents perceive work and affects the employer-employee relationships permanently. While the unemployment rate stays high on the road to economic recovery, the number of people quitting or planning to leave their jobs is staggeringly high, too.

The Great Resignation is looming as employees are contemplating an exit to seek fresh opportunities where they can prioritize their mental health. In light of this matter, HR in Asia invites Paul Endacott, CEO of GRIT, to share his perspective on why people are quitting now more than ever, as well as what employers can do best to retain their top players. Read on…

Question: Paul, a Microsoft survey found about 1 in 2 workers in Singapore is considering quitting their jobs this year. From your observation, is the Great Resignation coming soon?

Answer: We work closely with many talents on our platform. Many of the employees we speak to are passively open to opportunities, meaning they will be open to move or plan to move when the right role comes along. Some are certainly more active than others and the first half of this year has seen significant movement across technology and digital roles – particularly software engineering, product, and digital marketing. There are quite a lot of new roles coming into Singapore with headquarters moving roles here, growth/expansion, and digital transformation projects happening.

Question: Besides economic recovery on track, what could be the factors behind the resignation boom, considering the end of the pandemic remains uncertain?

Answer: One of the main reasons, highlighted by the pandemic, is employee frustration with how their company treated employees during the pandemic. During this time, they took time to reflect on what was important to them, time with family, less travel, better balance, pursuing their passion. Part of the reason could also be a lack of alignment with their company’s values, purpose or mission.

Question: The Singaporean workforce is also the unhappiest in the world, followed by the UK and Malaysia. Compared to other countries, what could have contributed to this discontent? What areas are in need of improvement?

Answer: There exist many factors which may result in employees being unhappy at work. In my point of view, here are the main areas that need to be paid attention to:

  • Mental health
  • Lack of support – emotional and infrastructure
  • Lack of recognition
  • Lack of direction
  • Career progression

Question: So, what can employers do to address these issues and keep their top talents from joining the exodus bandwagon?

Answer: There are several steps employers can take to build a better employer-employee relationship and retain their best players.

  • Engage with them and find out what’s important to them
  • Offer flexible working arrangements where possible, especially for remote workers or those with other responsibilities (e.g. taking care of family)
  • Clearly communicate the company vision to ensure that this aligns with what their employees are trying to achieve, in terms of progression or purpose.
  • Put career paths in place that align with the companies vision so that they understand the part they play, and give recognition where it’s due
  • Listen and communicate regularly, understanding their needs or frustrations, such as when it comes to mental health (e.g. burnouts)

Question: Moving on to employee engagement. During a crisis like today, on a scale of 1 to 10, how important is it to have an engaged workforce?

Answer: It’s possibly the most important factor for any business. Talent is the fuel that powers a company, if they are not engaged and choose to leave in numbers that are likely the reason why a business will fail. It is often said that employees are a company’s biggest asset – they are the ones driving operations, mission and customer satisfaction. Without the right employees, companies won’t be able to optimize these processes.

Question: Employees don’t really quit companies, but they quit bosses. How can managers rethink and recalibrate their relationship with unengaged employees, especially when they are working remotely and not able to meet face-to-face?

Answer: There are many ways that key leaders can build better relationships and understand their employers, some of which I have stated in Question 4. Other than that, during this time of remote work, managers can make it a point to regularly catch up via VC. It is also important to show compassion and care through listening and responding, instead of just checking off a list of tasks.

Employers should always ensure they have a career path in place and help them achieve that through their motivations and be aware of their mental health. Many times, mental health issues, such as burnout or a lack of motivation are overlooked. Managers should try their best to include them in team conversations, promote a culture of communication, etc.

Question: Last question. Looking on the bright side, do you think that the big churn could potentially be good for both workers and employers? Why is that so?

Answer: For companies, it’s the increasing talent pool that they can consider if they have adopted a framework for remote work.

For individuals it can provide a more balanced home/work relationship – not having to do long commutes, travel as much, etc.

It can also offer more career opportunities for talent as organisations consider remote working and talent being based not just locally but also regionally and globally.


Paul Endacott has decades of experience in the fields of recruitment and executive search. He is the founder and CEO of GRIT, a recruitment tech firm that specialises in representing and sourcing digital and tech talent in Asia. This is a recruitment technology organisation that is driving a recruitment and executive search solutions platform to provide greater value and engagement with organisation and talent communities.

Paul is highly passionate about digital and technology and how it can be utilised to advance the recruitment and staffing industry. Additionally, he is an advisor for Antler’s global HRtech cohort as well as a mentor for the Workplace Accelerator. 

Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Content rights: This exclusive interview content is produced by HR in ASIA. Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in this interview is prohibited. You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content.

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