Employment statistics from the United States show an exodus from the workforce known as the Great Resignation. This has made many Australian companies sit up and take notice.
Although there is debate about whether this trend will take hold in Australia, there is a noticeable shortage of Product Managers in Australia. Product Leaders are searching for ways to hold onto their valued talent before this phenomenon takes hold of the Australian market.
As a part of our Great Resignation Series, we explored practices employed by Product Leaders to prevent their valued talent from resigning. We also interviewed two experts in Product recruitment, Victoria Butt, Founder of Parity Consulting, and her colleague and Division Lead Amanda Glacken, who offered their insights into the possibility of the Great Resignation occurring in Australia, the motivations behind this buzzing phenomenon, and solutions on how Product Teams can retain their talent before it’s too late.
Is the Great Resignation coming for the Australian workforce?
The current statistics from the US predict over 3% of the workforce leaving their current roles in the next few years but will it be the same for Australians?
The demand for Product Managers has sharply increased over the last two years. This demand is seen across every sector and shows no signs of slowing down.
With such a buoyant Product labour market Amanda notes that “people know that they’re going to be able to secure another role so they’re putting themselves out there and then the knock-on effect of people moving creates more movement.”
Many past major global events, such as the Global Financial Crisis in 2007 have left Australia unscathed. Victoria Butt believes the great Resignation will not affect the country.
“The Great Resignation is something that has actually been blown completely out of proportion. It’s not going to affect Australia. Yes, we are seeing a busy market but I don’t think we’re going to get a mass exodus as everyone is claiming because the Australian workforce is incomparable to that of the UK or the USA”
Victoria could be right. The Great Resignation is an employee revolt against long-running substandard working conditions. With many companies in America demanding their workers return to a five-day workweek and still only offering 2 weeks’ holiday pay, the Australian workforce seems like a dream in comparison.
Moreover, leaving and changing jobs is considered to be a sign of a functioning labor market with over a million folks departing their positions for greener pastures each year in Australia.
While there are conflicting views on the Australian Great Resignation, one thing is certain, there is a buoyant labour market. An overwhelming candidate shortage across Product Management has given employees the freedom to demand higher salaries. These two factors have motivated people to ‘shop around for their dream Product role.
So how do we hold onto our Product people in such a competitive market?
The Great Resignation has given workers a voice to enact change. There is a war for talent and as a consequence organisations are offering unique employee benefits. Victoria notes that massive sign-on bonuses have been put in place to entice new talent and compete with larger salaries,
“What we are seeing is bonuses coming out of CapEx as a way to mitigate costs. Companies are offering a lump sum when an employee starts, similar to a sign-on bonus, rather than a higher salary with the belief that these salaries will decrease next year. However… I don’t think you can have this demand and then within 12 months see any substantial decrease.”
Despite this, salaries, especially the salary of a mid-range Product Manager are at an all-time high as companies scramble to hold onto their people.
Victoria explains that counteroffers are also more prevalent than ever, “At the 11th hour of a resignation, companies are finding that extra money to hold onto their employees and employees are 34% more likely to take that than they were.”
However, “stats around counteroffers show that around 80% of people still leave within the first six months because the problems they had with the company are still present.”
Product Leaders need to be better. Leaders need to have frank and proactive conversations with their Product people to learn what it is employees truly value.
Amanda explains that organisations must “come up with inventive ways to retain their staff. They need to put some time in evaluating what’s important to the staff and what is important to different people.”
As burnout levels reach an all-time high and digital workspaces create a disconnect between teams, Product Leaders need to invest time in bolstering their Product culture and acknowledging the value each individual contributes to the product’s success.
Product people are no longer accepting organisations that do not have proper Product Practices in place or a company that undervalues its Product People. It is time for Product Leaders to actively listen to their people’s needs so the company’s Product culture can evolve.
The solution seems simple – create a working environment where your Product People can experience growth and deep learning as well as feel valued in their team.
In our next blog, we will teach you how you can start this journey.