Staffing Shortages Fueling Employee Burnout

As the Great Resignation continues, sixty-three percent of American workers say that staffing shortages are contributing to employee burnout. Worker burnout has been a festering issue for years, and today nearly half (49 percent) of U.S. workers say they are burnt out, with younger workers (53 percent) and women (52 percent) feeling the most strain. Workers say that a four-day work week and workload reductions would alleviate stress.

“Employees who remain on the job are feeling the sting of the Great Resignation,” says Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting. “Just a few month ago, the pandemic was a driver of employee burnout, and now we’re seeing staff shortages as a major culprit of worker stress.”

“There isn’t an easy fix for employers,” Jezior explained. “Workers tell us they’re still looking at leaving their jobs, and we have major demographic shifts that will continue to put strains on the labor market over the long-term.”     

“This means employers have no choice but to fully examine their employee experience if they want to reduce burnout and turnover among employees and to ensure they are an employer of choice for new recruits,” she added. “And it can’t be superficial lip service. Smart employers are engaging at a deep level with their workers to really understand their pain points and collaborate on solutions.”

The survey’s key findings are as follows:

  • When asked if they feel burnout out at work, 49 percent of working Americans said yes, with women at 52 percent and men slightly lower at 47 percent. Burnout is highest among younger workers (53 percent for those aged 18-34), followed by older workers (48 percent for those 55 and older) and mid-career workers (47 percent for those aged 35-54).  
  • Workers say that staffing shortages are contributing to burnout, with 63 percent in agreement and highest among women (69 percent) and younger workers (66 percent).
  • Regarding the causes of burnout, employees say that their workload is the top problem (52 percent), followed by juggling work and personal life (38 percent), a lack of communication, feedback and support (35 percent), time pressures (32 percent), and performance expectations (29 percent). 
  • When asked how to reduce burnout, 67 percent said a four-day work week would help, highest among younger workers. Other solutions included increased flexibility (64 percent), decreased workload (62 percent), better health and wellness (57 percent), working from home (51 percent), reduced administrative burdens (51 percent), more on-site amenities (48 percent), and the ability to relocate or work from multiple locations (39 percent).
  • About one-third of employees (34 percent) indicate they plan to leave their organization in the next 12 months, up from 33 percent in August 2021 and 29 percent in May 2021. The planned departure rates are even higher for younger workers (45 percent for 18 to 34-year-old workers), followed by mid-career workers (31 percent for 35 to 54-year-old workers), and at 24 percent for those 55 and older.

The research also signals that the Great Resignation is likely to linger, as more than one-third of the workforce (34 percent) plans to leave their job in the next 12 months. Younger workers say they are more likely to depart (45 percent), as are men (36 percent).

These findings are from a workforce survey from Eagle Hill Consulting conducted by Ipsos from April 5 -7, 2022. The 2022 Eagle Hill Consulting Workforce Burnout Survey included 1003 respondents from a random sample of employees across the U.S and polled respondents about burnout and retention.

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