The flip side of the Great Resignation: Having to work longer before retiring

SINGAPORE – A wave of resignations during the Covid-19 pandemic as disgruntled employees quit unsatisfactory working conditions is expected to delay retirement for some who left their jobs in what has been dubbed “The Great Resignation”, according to a poll by insurer Prudential Singapore.

Prudential polled 1,000 Singapore residents who had resigned or intended to resign.

The survey was conducted in April with respondents aged between 25 and 50.

It found that one in five respondents caught in The Great Resignation wave expect to work for another six years on average, resulting in them delaying retirement at 58 years to 64 instead.

This is because many people who undertake mid or late-career job switches end up taking pay cuts to start off in new roles.

But Mr Will Tan, managing director of Principle Partners, a specialist financial service executive search firm, said job switches should not be considered only in dollars and cents and that such moves may well add a very fulfilling six more years of working life for some.

Mr Tan said some people resign after they re-evaluate what is more important to them.

One example is Mediacorp actress Felicia Chin, who is leaving the broadcaster to join a non-profit organisation, where she is likely to earn less but hopes to inspire others who are down and out.

Mr Tan added that he has also seen some who quit to take on a lower paying job that gives them more flexibility and work-life balance.

The Prudential survey found that one in two (52 per cent) who have resigned did so because they no longer felt engaged at work. Just over a third of the respondents also decided to make a switch to take care of their mental health or to leave a toxic work environment.

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Principle Partners’ Mr Tan said more executives are making a mid-career switch into a new industry.

“(There are) transferable skills, no doubt, but there’s also a part of your experience that’s not transferable. So, you probably need to accept a lower pay,” he said.

Ms Jaya Dass, managing director of recruitment firm Randstad Malaysia and Singapore, is observing a similar trend of job seekers open to trying new work and pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone.

Ms Dass said many won’t be lucky the first time round and that they will have to try and fail a few times before they find a job fit.