Great Resignation Reaches Sarasota Region

Todays News

Graphic courtesy WalletHub

A new survey from WalletHub shows Florida has the second highest resignation rates of every state in the union. Has the “Great Resignation” struck the greater Sarasota area? Business leaders say it has, and that companies will have to grow increasingly nimble to deal with the change.

“The EDC is talking with businesses every day who tell us that the lack of and loss of talent is a significant risk for their company,” said Lisa Krouse, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a large or small organization.”

The topic was highlighted at an Economic Outlook Luncheon in Sarasota on Friday, largely in response to demand from companies for help finding creative solutions to business challenges. Krouse said in many ways, the problems facing long-time employers are a biproduct of the region’s successes.

“There is no shortage of business interest in our community,” she said. “With the influx of new businesses coming into our state, there are more opportunities for workers. People are quitting for better jobs.”

Heather Kasten, president of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, said every single employer she knows has at least one significant job opening on their payroll. “You see businesses making modifications to the business model because of a shortage of staff,” she said.

The WalletHub survey looked at data about how many individuals voluntarily leave their places of employment each month and found Florida trails only Alaska in terms of places with the most quitting.

At the same time, the region and entire state continue to see lower unemployment rates than the nation as a whole. The North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton area, according to information released Friday by Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity, has an unemployment rate of just 2.1% compared to a statewide rate of 2.4% and a national rate of 3%.

Kasten encourages employers to do what they can to make workers feel valued— even those finding their ways to the exits. “If a good employee leaves, make sure (employers) leave the door open for if and when they want to return to the company,” Kasten said. “Make sure you do it in best possible, honorable way.

“Now is a great time to examine your corporate culture. Things have drastically changed since March 2019. Check the environment at work what your culture is everyday. If you are an employer or president of a company, you need to be waking up and being incredibly intentional about the culture at your place of employment.”

Kasten said a number of factors contribute to the current environment, from inflation to a growth in remote work in the pandemic. 

Krouse said there’s no doubt the environment has changed, as have the expectations of employees.

“The pandemic has caused many to rethink balance in their lives and we are seeing a large entry of entrepreneurs enter the market,” Krouse said.

“This can be highlighted by State College of Florida’s establishment of 26 West an Entrepreneurship Academy. The ability to work remote is also exacerbating the problem. The EDC and Visit Sarasota County have had a very successful social media campaign called ‘live where you want to work.’ We are targeting the remote worker and offering them a place like Sarasota County so as to build the talent pipeline for our local companies.”

Graphic courtesy WalletHub

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