The Great Immigrant Resignation: Are People Returning From Abroad to India Again?

Written by Resurchify | Updated on: August 04, 2022

The Great Immigrant Resignation: Are People Returning From Abroad to India Again?

It was quite often seen in India that people who went to prestigious universities of any stream would get a job from a foreign company that was willing to pay them a huge amount of money as a salary. Those people took that as a golden opportunity and accepted the offer. Going to foreign countries to do a job and getting settled there for a lifetime was a culture that became very prominent in the last few years in India. This was even given the term 'BRAIN DRAIN'. But from the 2020 pandemic situation, the scenario has changed quite a bit.

A global survey of 2021 revealed that 54% of employees considered leaving their current employer if some sort of post-pandemic flexibility was not offered to them. This is what is called the Great Resignation, and a few countries all over the world have already started facing this.

First, let us know what exactly is the Great Resignation. 

The term Great Resignation was coined by the American psychologist Anthony Klotz — a call to remap priorities in the work-life equation. He called the trend a pandemic epiphany. Ever since the pandemic has grasped the whole world with its claws, both developed and developing countries have been trying desperately to recover and get back to their old ways. In the US alone, 20.2 million employees left their job voluntarily between May 2021 and September 2021.

Also, several employers struggled to retain their employees, and if some inside reports are believed, this pattern will continue in 2022. Microsoft conducted a survey, and it found that 41 percent of employees worldwide were looking to quit their jobs in 2021. In Germany, one-third of the companies were short of skilled workers, and according to a report published in 2021, there were at least four lakh professional job vacancies.

Since the corona pandemic, it has been observed that many Indians who were once very well-settled abroad are now returning to India. Now this perplexing scenario raises one very important question in all our minds, i.e., Is India indeed seeing a reverse migration?

The answer to this question is quite debatable.

Factors like unemployment benefits, inadequate pay, caregiving to the family members, relocation, fear of the killer virus, etc., are probably thought to be responsible for this reverse migration. But if we focus on the bigger picture, we get to know that this is only half of the whole story. Actually, the elephant in the room is the work-life balance. We pretty much now know that our lives have always revolved around our work. People planned their weeks based on their work calendar. They would meet their acquaintances or friends only over weekends & they even socialized only on the off days. Some people could even go to the extent of skipping weddings or other important family festivities for their work. Some people would even compromise on their vacations to save the paid leaves.

But now, the pandemic has changed all of this. Actually, it forced people to see the unpredictability of life. People got a chance to reflect upon what actually matters to them and to their dear ones.

The Great Resignation is also being called a Workers' Revolutiona legacy of the pandemic. It actually gave people newfound respect for themselves and their lives. Below are some examples.

  • Many people quit their full-time jobs and began freelancing as they realized that they wanted to spend more time at home or with their families.
  • Some decided to quit their current jobs and go back to school because they suddenly realized that life is too short to stick it out in the wrong career.
  • Many also planned accordingly and turned their hobbies into full-time jobs.
  • Many people began trading full time, and if some reports published in February 2021 are to be believed, then 106 million people around the world today are trading in cryptocurrency.
  • There were some people who decided to STARTUP. A startup boom has accompanied the Great Resignation.

After the pandemic, India has added 1,600 new startups in the tech sector alone.

In a survey which was conducted to know why people were returning from abroad to India again, the answers were quite worth- knowing. 40% of the people cited burnout, 20% of them spoke about the lack of flexibility, and 16% said their previous employer was not supporting their well being. Again, when these people were asked what were they looking for in their new jobs, the answers were as follows.

  • 40% of them said the ability to work remotely according to their personal preference; actually, people nowadays don't want their lives to revolve around their jobs anymore. Instead, they want their jobs to fit into the kind of life they want to live.
  • The majority of them voted that they wanted a job that would be flexible, remote, would have shorter workdays, i.e., 4- day work week. In short, they wanted a job that would help them maintain a work-life balance.

The coronavirus pandemic gave people a 101% reality check on life. Those who survived the deadly virus valued their lives way too much to compromise. In 2020 and 2021, people living abroad became very eager to return back to India as they felt a sense of safety and belongingness to stay in their own country at that darkened, gloomy times. To everyone's utter surprise, the sector which suffered the most because of the Great Resignation included the hospitality and healthcare sector.

Now let us take a quick look at how the Great Immigrant Resignation affected foreign countries. According to a report, there were at least 10 million job openings in the US during the year 2020-21 & Germany needed at least 4 lakh skilled workers to run its tech and other sectors. China's grueling "996" work schedule- 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week is common in industries like technology. This unrelenting pressure from the workplace forced many people to leave their jobs and return back to India. Employees aged 30-35 (21.5%), 35-40 (19.6%) and 40-45

 (25.1 %) saw a large increase in resignations, signaling that workers who were more established in their careers were no longer interested in slogging their daylight hours. They preferred to shift back to India as they knew that in a developing country like India, people who have work experience in developed foreign countries would have a better chance to immediately grab high-paying jobs than the freshers/newbies of India. About 4 in 10 millennial and Gen Z respondents said they would leave their job if asked to come back to the office full-time, a global survey by advisory company Qualtrics International Inc. found revealing that the pandemic has made the general people realize that flexibility in work hours is something which they need the most at the present scenario.

Last but not least, in the 2000s, people used to say that if someone wanted to have a better standard of living, then they were bound to move to developed countries like the U.S., France, Germany, Singapore, etc. as they somehow had a myth ingrained in them that in India that could not be achieved. But now, this concept has changed. People have realized that in India also, they can lead their desired standard of living as India, by its new technologies and advancements in science, has been able to be at par with the developed countries in the world.



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