Technology & Innovation

The Great Resignation in Asia-Pacific

June 06, 2022


The Great Resignation in Asia-Pacific

June 06, 2022

Charles Ross

Asia editorial director

Charles Ross is Principal of Policy and Insights in Asia-Pacific and leads the region's technology and society practice. Prior to this role, he was editorial director for The Economist Intelligence Unit overseeing all thought leadership research in Asia. Charles combines a deep understanding of how technology trends are reshaping business and society with excellent research and editorial skills, to create impactful and award-winning research programmes for clients. Charles is currently based in Australia and has led many projects analysing the implications for business of new technology trends such as blockchain, fintech, smart cities, cloud computing, sustainability and the internet of things, for Google, Stripe, SAP, Telstra, Microsoft, Prudential, Westpac and the Singapore government. He is a contributing industry expert to the UN Science Policy and Business Forum on the Environment and a frequent speaker at finance and technology events across the region. Charles holds a master of business administration, focusing on strategy and organisational change, from the University of Oxford and a certificate in public policy analysis from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


A trend that saw millions of people resign their jobs in the United States and then Europe in 2021, is now a matter of concern across the Asia-Pacific too. Talent shortages have been reported in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand among others, with companies struggling to retain and attract talent.
A 2021 study by consulting firm Mercer found that 55% of employers in Southeast Asia cited employee dissatisfaction with pay as the main cause for attrition. Employees’ ability to receive better benefits at other companies (46%) and limited opportunities for career advancement (43%) were next.1
Numbers such as these lie at the core of the ‘Great Resignation’, a term coined by Professor Anthony Klotz to reference the mass exodus of people from the workforce in the wake of covid-19.2 These resignations have been driven by widespread feelings of burnout from the tumultuous events of 2020 resulting from poor work-life balance (among other factors) and growing dissatisfaction with the state of their working lives.
These feelings were already present prior to the arrival of covid-19. The pandemic exacerbated an already simmering situation: in the early months of the crisis, the job market was characterised by uncertainty and mass layoffs as businesses fought to survive amid low levels of consumer spend and high disruption.


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