Big resignation: why Luxembourg is most vulnerable

In the United States, the country where this phenomenon was born, 48 million employees quit in 2021 and about 4 million per month in 2022, according to several international sources. The so-called “big resignation” is to leave the employer suddenly, without the latter being able to see the next blow. Until recently, Europe has escaped this trend, but many countries are exceptions, including France with an increase in CDI termination of 20% in 2021, explain Europe 1 here.

Luxembourg is a vulnerable country. Especially because its labor market is tight, with strong demand. But also because it is hampered by housing prices and transportation problems…

One in four Luxembourg employees also judge the likelihood of changing employers within 12 months to be “high” or “extremely high,” according to a PwC study conducted by several media outlets and carried out among about 1,200 employees by the state. Which makes it the European country most affected by these desires anywhere else.

Adem, for his part, has no numbers on the subject.

salary issue

The FR2S (Federation for Employment, Research and Selection) for its part states that “employees leave their jobs for a yes or no”. Co-chair, Natalie Delbois, elaborates: “If they don’t get the pay raise they want, they’ll see if the grass is greener somewhere else.”

The jobs companies seek are “not innovations, but alternatives.” She explains this movement of departures and incoming employees through the labor market “more dynamic than other European countries” and largely favorable to candidates. According to the latest figures from Adem, Luxembourg had 13,599 vacancies at the end of June, a record high, up 39.7% in one year.

In search of flexibility

Thus, this market dynamic and the position of power held by the employees in relation to the employers leads to the desire to improve per capita wage income. Especially since inflation impoverishes many workers.

It seems that countries where the wage index is automated according to the development of various indicators, such as Belgium, are less affected by the “big resignation”. Does postponing the index push Luxembourg employees to look for a better salary elsewhere? No, according to Natalie Delbois. “Candidates want a higher salary, but if there is no indication (nationally, editor’s note), then all employers do.” Even if salary increases may be more or less frequent from company to company, some have group agreements that stipulate increases according to seniority, for example.

But for Natalie Delbois, the phenomenon, sparked by the Covid crisis, is a generational one. “There is a search for meaning and balance.” And then there are even greater difficulties in employment in sectors such as catering: “Young people no longer want to work on weekends.”

“We systematically ask companies how many days off they offer, and their telecommuting policy, which we haven’t done before,” explains the recruiter.

When Luxembourg loses its charm

She fears that restrictions on remote work for cross-border workers will exacerbate the situation. “An accountant from Metz would be more inclined to accept a position in Paris, where he could do more work remotely.”

Another issue is housing. “The people of the border want to go back to France, and spending two hours in the car no longer interests them. If it was easier to get housing, they would have emigrated to Luxembourg.”

Isabelle Begueron-Peruth, a researcher at the University of Luxembourg who specializes in the cross-border labor market, confirmed the country’s loss of attractiveness. “It is likely that the demographic challenge, with significant labor needs across all components of the greater region, will see a certain number of cross-border workers return to their country of residence. Especially if we consider mobility concerns, fuel prices and tax reforms that lead to higher taxes for cross-border travelers” .

The large establishment appears to be particularly affected by the wave of resignations. In joint statistics, Pôle emploi and the Regional Directorate for Economics, Employment, Labor and Solidarity (DREETS) counted 2,080 entries of job seekers after resignation, an increase of 5.6% in one quarter and 31.6% in one year. Nationally, it is up 2.1% in one quarter and 29.8% in one year. While the entries for the unemployed decrease after dismissal in both cases.

It remains to be seen whether inflation, on the contrary, will limit these resignations for the sake of greater security. “I don’t know, but right now, that’s crazy,” Natalie Delbois ends.

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