One of the hottest topics of conversation in business in 2021 is that of the Great Resignation. Employees are leaving their jobs in record numbers, creating a record number of unfilled positions in their wake. Although it is clear that workers are leaving the workforce in droves, what is not so clear is who is leaving and where exactly they are going. In some cases, workers are simply leaving one industry for another, but there are also other factors at play.
Not surprisingly, the industries experiencing the greatest difficulty filling open positions right now are those that placed the greatest demands on workers at the start of and during the pandemic. These include health care, food service, retail, and hospitality. Skyrocketing home prices combined with a skyrocketing stock market allowed a number of employees to sell their homes and retire early, which accounts for some of the loss to the labor force. Another factor at play, however, is that the shutdown of so many businesses combined with generous government stimulus packages gave many people both the impetus and capital to branch out on their own and start their own businesses.
Although entrepreneurship has had a significant impact on business for some time now, that impact is almost assuredly set only to continue to grow. Although the gig economy was already in full swing prior to the pandemic, it definitely saw a huge surge as a result of it. Many workers who were laid off at the beginning of the pandemic may have found a way to support themselves through a gig or freelance work. Now that offices are opening back up, they may be unwilling to go back to work for someone else. Although remote work opportunities are also much more prevalent today, many workers simply don’t want to be locked into a schedule with a single employer.
In addition, many companies realize that it is cheaper to hire a freelancer to work on a single project or task or during a busy season than a full-time employee. Apps and services are on the rise that will provide workers with single shifts for a wide range of tasks ranging from stocking shelves to data entry and seasonal or task-based employment, which is in turn just one more factor creating a booming business for entrepreneurs.