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2021 Talent Insights - The “Great Resignation” Has Given Its Notice

Diptych image. On the left, a train whizzing by. The right panel shows a man working and a daughter doing her schoolwork in the living room. The title of the PDF shows

Looking back at late 2020 and early 2021, two breakthrough COVID-19 vaccinations were becoming available. It seemed the country was getting a handle on the virus and things were finally turning the corner. After “working in place” (albeit remotely for many) during much of 2020, the employment floodgates opened and it seemed like everyone was looking to make a career move. The “Great Resignation” became part of the national conversation. Now, as 2021 winds down, many are still open to new opportunities, but far fewer are actively looking than you might expect.



Over 7.5 million workers quit in April and May
alone, the highest rate in 20 years.



Understanding the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) shifts and trends in the employment market is important for any business. That knowledge is central to our success at Vitamin T. To better understand what’s important to talent—as we quickly approach the third calendar year to be consumed by pandemic-related issues—we surveyed over 1,300 marketing, creative, and digital talent across the U.S. and Canada. Today, we’re excited to share our 2021 Talent Insights with managers like you. It contains the most up-to-date, mid-year salary data for the top 15 roles and many other roles as well. It’s also a comprehensive review of the survey results and the important insights we’ve gleaned from the responses.

In this blog post, you’ll find a preview of some of the main findings from the survey. Get your copy of the 2021 Talent Insights to find out the latest salary numbers, and learn how to navigate the uncharted waters of today’s ever-changing, ever-complex employment market.

The Great Resignation Plateaus

Almost 50% of the talent we surveyed in mid 2020 said they were looking to leave their jobs in three to six months. When asked about their career mindset this year, only 35% of respondents told us they were actively looking for new jobs. But, that figure doesn’t include “Passive Candidates.” These are talent who may not be actively looking but would be open to an offer if one was presented to them. This group has grown by 10% from 2020 to 2021. The bottom line is that, while the deluge of talent departures may have settled, there are still plenty of flight risks, especially in key roles like UX, CX, and Service Design.



Only 20% of UX, CX, and Service Design talent are actively looking, but 65% would leave for the right offer.



When Managers Don’t Get It, Talent Get Out

COVID exposed the weaknesses at many companies. Talent reported that layoffs were the number one reason for leaving a previous job, but poor company leadership was not far behind, with compensation a strong third. In fact, we found that nearly 1 in 3 employees was dissatisfied. This number is up, even from pre-COVID levels. Poor leadership and layoffs likely contributed to these dissatisfaction numbers. Managers expected employees to maintain productivity levels and even pick up the slack with fewer resources, all during a time of heightened stress levels due to the pandemic. Understanding what talent are experiencing, respecting their individual challenges, and rewarding them for their contributions are key to building and sustaining teams that are productive and content.



In 2020 and 2021, job dissatisfaction rose to almost 33%.



Be Flexible or They’ll Fly

The pandemic changed everything and, just as most things are not going back to the way they were, talent aren’t going back either. That means employees are not being flexible when it comes to the flexibility that was necessarily afforded to them over the past year and half (think, working remotely, part-time and freelance arrangements, and more time for family obligations). The technology was in place to allow for many of these changes and the pandemic simply accelerated the widespread adoption of these new norms.

Now that talent have had a taste of the flavor of flexibility, they’re not interested or willing to go back to plain old vanilla career paths. Simply put, if a company cannot or refuses to offer talent the flexibility they have become accustomed to, those talent will leave for companies that can and will.



The importance of flexible working arrangements has risen significantly, to nearly on par with compensation at 28%.



Insights Light the Way

Companies, talent, and customers have made major adjustments during the pandemic. Now, companies need to adjust once again to a new set of talent expectations. Our 2021 Talent Insights will show you exactly what those expectations are and how to meet them so you can attract and retain the best talent available.

Request your copy today!

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