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Why Is It Difficult to Get Hired During the Supposed ‘Great Resignation’?

The media is selling the narrative that a “Great Resignation” is taking place. However, many job seekers are having difficulty getting hired. 

Here are a few reasons why.

COVID caused significant economic damage.

Yes, pandemic restrictions are being lifted, and, for better or worse, we’re moving back to our 1st world lifestyle. However, the pandemic isn’t officially over, and nobody knows when it will be. Small businesses, those that survived, have been severely damaged by COVID, leaving many in a precarious position. According to the latest Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIBSmall Business Recovery Dashboard, only 40% of businesses have returned to normal sales.

Many employers are struggling and therefore can’t afford to backfill vacancies. Instead, they’re increasing the workload of their existing employees and/or cutting back business hours.

Layoffs are happening.

The number of layoffs since the start of the year has been alarming. Some of the layoffs that made headlines:

  • Netflix (150 employees)
  • Canopy Growth (250 employees)
  • Noom (495 employees)
  • Zillow (2,300 employees)
  • Carvana (2,500 employees)
  • Peloton (over 2,800 employees)
  • ( approx. 4,000 employees)

The hot job market is cooling down. This post-pandemic reset, caused by employers having overhired, a bear market, business growth slowing (With inflation hovering around 8%, consumers are spending less.), and higher labour costs, feels like a reckoning.

The “Great Resignation” may morph into the “Great Termination.” 

There’s talk of a looming recession.

“We will get a major recession.” – Deutsche Bank Economists, in a report to clients on April 26.

Employers, who, for the most part, are risk-averse, become nervous just hearing of a possible recession. Fear causes employers to slow, if not freeze, their hiring. 

There’s intense competition for desirable jobs.

Don’t kid yourself; it’s raining resumes, especially for that job of your dreams.

The jobs people left, they left for a reason—poor working conditions, low pay and bad management. These are the jobs that are going unfilled. In my neighbourhood, a local bar & grill is still unable to open after pandemic restrictions have been lifted because they can’t find staff.

Finding a job isn’t difficult if you view work as a means to an end—you’re just looking for a paycheque. However, most job seekers are seeking jobs that offer fair compensation, flexibility as to where and when they work and a manager who’ll take an interest in cultivating, developing, and growing their skillset. Finding a job that ticks all your “wants” and “nice to haves” is difficult even in the best of times.

If you’re having trouble finding a job, re-evaluate which of your criteria are non-negotiable and which you can be flexible on. At this point, you may not have the skills, experience, or connections (Knowing the right people is what opens doors.) you need to land that perfect job at your company of choice.

Employers aren’t in a rush to fill vacancies.

Despite media claims of a labour shortage, employers are being selective in their hiring, perhaps even more so in the current uncertain economic climate. As I’ve mentioned in previous columns: Employers own their hiring processes. (and the results of) Just because how an employer hires doesn’t serve the job seeker’s self-interest doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve the employer’s. 

Onboarding a new employee is a lengthy, costly process, fraught with risks, especially with the current unstable economy. A bad hire can quickly become a liability.

Businesses are operating with fewer employees.

You’ve seen this: A colleague leaves and the work continues to get done!

Want to gauge your value to your employer? Ask yourself this uncomfortable question: What would happen to my employer if I left tomorrow? I’ve yet to meet an employee who can answer: My employer will go out of business.

Employers have many options for running their business with less employees: AI, robotics, self-checkout, automation, using contractors/freelancers, and outsourcing, to name a few. Furthermore, companies are redistributing work and restructuring responsibilities instead of hiring more employees.

Bottom line: 

There aren’t many “great jobs” out there, and the number is dwindling; thus, it’s a tough job market for the “great jobs.” Sought-after employers aren’t hurting for candidates. Don’t let all the Great Resignation talk lull you into believing employers, especially those everyone wants to work for, are begging for employees. Your job search still requires your A-game, which means:

  • Have clearly defined career objectives.
  • Make networking a habit.
  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile.
  • Communicate your achievements over your responsibilities. (Use numbers to show how you provided value to your employers.)


Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send Nick your questions at [email protected].

Nick Kossovan
Nick Kossovan
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send Nick your questions at [email protected]