26 September 2023

UNITED STATES: Resignations soar during pandemic

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A new survey has found that more State and Local Government employees in the United States have been quitting their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic, leaving the remaining workforce stressed, fatigued, and anxious.

The survey, conducted by MissionSquare Research Institute (a think tank dedicated to promoting excellence among Public Servants at State and Local Government level), found nearly four out of five workers surveyed said the departures put a strain on their workload.

Senior Research Manager at MissionSquare, Rivka Liss-Levinson said that when asked to describe how they feel about the pandemic while at work, respondents were most likely to report feeling stressed (44 per cent), burned out or fatigued (42 per cent), and/or anxious (39 per cent).

“Also, nearly one-quarter of State and local workers say they have taken on more debt due to the pandemic than they would have otherwise,” Ms Liss-Levinson said.

The research comes as COVID-19 and the Great Resignation continue to have a deep impact on the State and Local Government workforce.

More than half (52 per cent) of public employees surveyed said they were inclined to leave their jobs voluntarily — whether to change jobs, retire, or leave the workforce entirely.

“The double whammy of COVID-19 and the Great Resignation clearly is putting additional strain on an already beleaguered public sector workforce,” Ms Liss-Levinson said.

“However, employees feel their employers can take concrete actions to help with recruitment and retention — from bumping up salaries and offering bonuses to recognising employees for the important public services they are delivering.”

She hoped the research would help State and local leaders understand the full scope of employee sentiment and craft solutions that would address “the looming public workforce crisis”.

The results are based on a national survey of 1,100 employees in November and December last year.

Washington, 16 March 2022

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