Public health crises past and present have caused labor shortages that ripped out and reworked the fabric of society. The Great Plague liberated serfs, the Spanish Flu brought women to the workplace, and COVID-19 is empowering modern employees to redefine work-life balance and find roles that fit their lifestyles.
In upending the economy, the coronavirus also reshaped views of the workforce. Hourly earners were finally seen as essential and many office workers logged in from home, while government assistance allowed millions to reconsider their employment status. Many workers delayed their returns to the office or quit their jobs to seek more favorable terms as part of The Great Resignation.
Now low unemployment and rising wages have made good workers harder to hire. Our new research into what American workers need to stay on the job revealed a workforce in turmoil, with many employees dissatisfied and actively looking for new positions. Specifically, our study of workers and job seekers found: