• Karen Williams

Why Doesn’t Anyone Want to Work?!

A look into the intricacies of the current employee-driven workforce.




I visited one of my regular retail establishments today. The manager mentioned to me that they are now closed on Wednesdays.

My reaction was, “Why”?

The response was, “We just can’t get enough workers”.

Since people know that I work in Human Resources, they freely share their employment horror stories with me. And lately, the stories I hear generally have a common theme: “We can’t find anyone who will commit to work.”

So, what are the root causes of this phenomenon?

Recently, many articles have been written to address this core issue: there are more available jobs than the number of people willing to work.

Nowadays, people are more selective about where they work. New research shows that nearly 48% of employees are looking to leave their current jobs.

I have talked with a lot of people, both employees and employers and from all walks of life, about their attitudes toward work. There are many reasons why people are open to new opportunities, but here are some of the key reasons why the tide has shifted to an employee-driven workforce.

1. Better Pay. Offering every job seeker their desired salary may not always be an option. However, it is important to know the going rate in your competitive market.


It has also been found that traditional perks and benefits, like insurance and paid holidays, are no longer primary in attracting or help to retaining employees.

2. Culture. Younger workers seek work that aligns with their values, interests and skills in greater numbers than older workers. New job seekers are often looking for a connection between company values and their personal beliefs. Make sure you communicate your company’s values to your employees. Top talent doesn’t look at a job as merely a means to pay bills; they also view work as a part of their identity.

3. Growth Opportunities. Today’s employees will not be content to work the same job for 30 years. They want to grow their careers. Your employees will want the chance to learn new skills and pursue new opportunities.

In order to retain top talent, your business must be able to provide options for career paths within the company so your employees don’t choose to look outside of it.

4. Workplace Flexibility. This pandemic has shown workers that the old business model of 40 in-office hours per week may not be necessary or compatible with their lifestyles. Companies are learning that they can still be productive while embracing flexible and reasonable work styles, such as working remotely or with a hybrid schedule.

As an example, if there is an opportunity for virtual work to get a project completed, can the employee work 6 hours during the “regular” 8-5 time frame, then work 2 hours at night after they have gotten their children in bed?

Lately, older workers (late 50’s-early 60’s) have been retiring earlier than usual. As the stock market rose many older workers decided it was a good time to get out of the workforce.


Retiring workers saw their 401Ks and retirement accounts increase in value while their concerns about COVID rose. When the stock market goes down and some of these workers need more money or realize they would be open to working again, seek to hire this demographic. Older workers may only want to work 20 hours per week, but this group could provide a lot of experience and expertise.

5. Promote DEIB. We all have biases; it’s just part of being human. But biases can sway workplace decisions that impact underrepresented groups. However, being aware of our biases that inadvertently impact business decisions can impact the reputation of your company.

Oftentimes, work biases can prevent giving the same career opportunities to everyone and engaging the full pool of talent. Companies that promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) ensure that women, persons of color, LBGTQ+ and older employees receive the same opportunities in the workforce. This increases the talent pool and creates an inclusive work environment.

In this unprecedented labor shortage, job seekers have choices. Employers that recognize that they have the power to make changes that can attract and retain the talent they need. MGMTinsight can help.




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