Burned at work, but without quitting

  • Official statistics and the experts consulted agree that, unlike the United States or Italy, there are no mass resignations of workers with permanent contracts

  • Problems such as excessive temporality or wanting to work more hours than those offered by the contract are more widespread concerns among employees

Lester Burham He is an American family man who ties his tie every morning to go to a job he hates. Until one day, fed up with the routine, working overtime and leaving the skin in inconsequential tasks, he resigns to give a radical change to his life. 22 years after Kevin Spacey gave life to the protagonist of the film Amercian Beauty, thousands of workers in the post-covid United States are quitting their jobs, in an episode dubbed ‘The Great Resignation‘(The Great Renunciation). However, and although the pandemic has accentuated the precarious niches in Spain, the ‘Lester Burham’ phenomenon is not reaching Spain. And it is that despite the wear and tear derived from the pandemic and the increase during the last years of the working poverty, having a job in Spain is still a much better alternative than not having it. And the barriers to return to it, once it has left, are very high.

In the Spanish labor market, almost one in three workers earned less than 1,324 euros gross per month before the covid. One in four employees is on a temporary contract, knowing that at one point or another it will end. Or one in two part-time employees would like to work full time; among others. “Many people find themselves in a vicious circle, because the more precarious they are, the more they want to quit their job, but the less chance they have of getting out of it”, points out the Secretary of Labor of CCOO de Catalunya, Ricard Bellera. “Do they have a choice? No, not even many of them have a real chance of form to change jobs, “he adds.

The data and experts consulted for this report support this: in Spain permanent workers do not leave their jobs en masse. According to data requested from the INE, the number of people who start and end the quarter with a permanent contract has been on the rise for five consecutive quarters, specifically since the pandemic began. In other words, permanent workers are not only not leaving their jobs, they are holding on to them. In the same direction the data of the Department of Labor of the Generalitat de Catalunya, according to which the number of wage earners with a permanent contract who go into unemployment or inactivity is at a minimum. In the third quarter of this year, 95% of the permanent workers remained in their positions; a point higher than in the same period of 2019. The jump from one side to the other is great: the risk of poverty among a busy person it is 15%; compared to 54.7% of an unemployed person; according to the Survey of Living Conditions of the INE.

“We do not see this phenomenon taking place, but it is possible that the pandemic and its consequences have caused a change in mentality and priorities in workers. Yes we are witnessing a certain disagreement between offer and demand in the Spanish labor market, either because companies in certain sectors cannot find professionals with the experience and skills they demand or because there are professions that are no longer attractive to candidates due to their working conditions & rdquor ;, comments the director of communication and InfoJobs studies, Monica Perez.

“And what do I live on if I quit?”

There are several arguments that the sources consulted adduce to explain it. One of the most direct is that a person who voluntarily quits his job is not entitled to unemployment benefit. And, according to the latest Survey of Living Conditions of the INE, the 44% of households could not maintain the same standard of living more than three months with the savings you have. That labor mobility is considerably higher in the United States than in Spain also has an influence.

“In the United States, unemployment rates are around 4.6%. The demand for workers is much more stressed and it is easier for workers to enter and exit the market. Here [con una tasa del 14,5%], that phenomenon of the Great Renunciation is not happening. It could happen in some ICT professions, where workers were lacking before the covid. But not as a generalized phenomenon “, explains the director of the Adecco Group Institute, Javier Blasco.

“Our labor market is not the North American one, for good and for bad. There the relationship with the job is very weak and there is a greater habit of rotating. And even moving for work reasons. Here that happens much less and usually, until they have another secure job, they do not leave where they are “, says the general secretary of Pimec, Josep Ginesta.

Without statistically serving to trace a trend, in recent months there have been episodes in Spain in which the burning of some workers has surfaced with the covid. This is the case of large employment regulation files (ERE) closed in recent months. Where, in the face of an apparently traumatic element such as a dismissal, signatures such as CaixaBank O The English Court they got more volunteers to go out on their jobs than they intended. Departures with unemployment and severance pay, not empty if they had resigned like Lester Burham. “The covid has made many people aware that they need to stop. And those who have been able to, have taken advantage of & rdquor ;, points out the doctor in psychology and professor of health sciences at the UOC, Antoni Baena.

Related news

The pandemic has increased pressure and tension among many professionals, some already at the limit of their possibilities. According to a study this year by the UAB and CCOO, the coronavirus has triggered work stress and 24% of workers regularly use sedatives. But, as occupancy statistics corroborate, most of those glasses are still not overflowing. And when there is the need to stop, but not the possibility, the consequence is the phenomenon of the ‘burned-out worker’. “We have this very ingrained idea of ​​’at least you have a job.’ But sometimes it is not just having a job, but quality of life in that job & rdquor ;, points out Baena.


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