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Employees are looking for new jobs. Are you ready for the talent tsunami?

Reading Time: 9 minutes

There are several studies and articles we’ve read recently about the “talent tsunami” on the horizon. Anywhere from 20-50 percent of employees are looking for new jobs or are planning to quit once the pandemic is behind us, experts estimate.*  (The largest study, Edelman Data x Intelligence’s Work Trend Index survey, has this number at 40%).

So, what does this mean for you, as someone responsible for attracting talent to your organization? 

It means get ready now. 

Panicky phrases like “talent tsunami” or “mass exodus” aside, don’t miss an opportunity to speak directly to (and convert) candidates who are leaving because they need exactly what you offer. 

Here’s your order of business:

  1. Use the data to understand (thematically) why candidates are leaving their current job and employer.
  2. Align candidate pain points with where your company culturally excels.
  3. Create content that best communicates these themes to candidates using real employee experiences as proof.
  4. Update your career site! (and then drive traffic there).

Why do employees want to leave?

There are reasons employees are leaving en masse that can be attributed to the pandemic and return-to-work (flexibility, skill set changes, burnout, connection to the culture). But, many of the reasons employees are planning to leave aren’t different from the top reasons for turnover in any given point in time (career advancement, desire for a higher salary, etc). But, those reasons are also contributing to a mass exit, because our historically low quit rates during the pandemic have pent up what would have been natural turnover. 

According to the research we’ve read recently, here are the top reasons employees are looking for new jobs.

1. Career advancement

According to Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey, 80 percent of employees getting ready to leave are concerned about their career advancement. 

2. Skill set and career changes

72% of participants in the same study say the pandemic caused them to rethink their skill sets. More than half of potential job-hoppers have sought out new training and skills during the pandemic, possibly to prepare to change careers in the next few months.  

3. Burnout

According to a survey by Eagle Hill Consulting and Ipsos*, one in four U.S. employees plan to leave their employer as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. 

And, that number is even higher for millennials and employees with children at home in remote learning situations. For those groups, one in three plan toone in three plan to quit once the pandemic is over. 

The majority of all respondents in this survey who said they plan to quit this job this year said they were burned out.

Interested in capturing stories from your team members?

4. Flexibility

42 percent of current remote workers in the Prudential survey said that if their current company does not continue to offer remote work options long term, they will look for a job at a company that does. Among all workers surveyed, 68 percent believe a hybrid workplace model is ideal.

5. Culture connection

46 percent of the Eagle Hill Consulting respondents feel less connected to their company in the COVID landscape. 42 percent say that company culture has diminished since the start of their pandemic. 

Really show that your workplace has what candidates are missing (and what they need)

If you’re a fan of this blog (sign up here!), you know what’s coming. It’s not enough that you offer things like flexibility at work, or have best-in-class wellness initiatives.

Candidates need to hear the impact of your policies by way of real stories from people like them. 

Here are examples of content you could create that would appeal to employees leaving their employer for any of the reasons above.

Internal Mobility

AstraZeneca Vice President Kiersten shares how her supervisor encouraged her to apply for a position bigger than what she had envisioned for herself. This story communicates internal mobility at its best: when leadership also cares about your career growth.

Flexibility at Work

If workplaces are absolute in one approach — all remote or all at the office — they will lose talent. But if your company offers hybrid options or “employee’s choice,” you can capture more of the audience who will start their search if their work location preference isn’t met. Here, First Solar communicates its hybrid work options from the voices of its remote and on-site team members.

Combating Burnout: Wellness at Work 

Create this content in direct response to those that are quitting their jobs because they are simply burned out. Show that your workplace takes wellness seriously, and its initiatives actually help your employees. 

For example, LinkedIn gave all of its 15,900 employees a week off to recharge after a year of working in the pandemic. They branded this week #RestUp and stories from employees sharing how they spent the week flooded social channels.

Combating Burnout Part 2: Supporting Parents at Work

How will your company supports its team members with children, when the unexpected happens? Remember, many of them will be coming off of a year-and-a-half of working full time without childcare and while managing virtual learning. These stories from women at Dell Technologies show proof of a company that is supportive of working parents.

Cohesive Culture

No matter where your employees are working, it’s possible for them to be an active part within a connected culture. These stories bring Philips’ culture to life, and were captured from team members around the globe and filmed via virtual story session.

Want to capture stories & bring your culture to life?

Talent Development and Training

Give candidates proof that they’ll expand their skills by showing them team members’ stories of training and professional development. Here, Ochsner Health System nurses share their types of training they’ve received to bolster their careers.


The topic of compensation shouldn’t be the only content you have about working at your company. But if your sales team is thriving within an incentive structure you know is better than your competitors, at least one of your content pieces should address it.

We like this from ADP.

(Credit: ADP’s Global Employer Brand & Marketing team partnered with Isaac Mark, ADP’s VP of Creative Services, Davis Images for Production and Timeline Video for all post-production and editorial.)

Get your career site ready

Your culture and employee experience has undoubtedly changed this year. Has your career site been meaningfully updated since the pandemic?

Now, you’ve got great content candidates need to see, hear and read. Optimize each content piece for all your candidate-facing channels, but start with your career site. You’ve got content holes: fill them with all the substantive content you just created about your culture. These content assets reflect the state of your current employee experience. Employee stories are badly needed on the hub of all candidate comms, your home base.

Now, candidates can understand all that you offer against their current motivations and pain points. All of the content topics above can give candidates insight in both broad, organizational cultural and pain point topics down to those at the job (day in the life) or personal level (will I fit in with my boss/team?). 

Next step: modify and use your awesome content on social to drive traffic to your career site. But that’s for next time!

Good employee story content is purposeful, consistent, gives insight, and answers questions candidates have about your employee experience. When you update your career site content to reflect your employee experience now, highlighting the things you know candidates care about, you’ll be ready for whatever life throws at us talent pros next (really, what? A pandemic, a tsunami… are cicadas invading?).

Access more career site content essentials in our guide


Edelman Data x Intelligence, The Work Trend Index Survey

Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey: Is This Working?

2020 Eagle Hill Consulting COVID-19 Employee Burnout Survey

Turnover ‘Tsunami’ Expected Once Pandemic Ends