Talk of “The Big Stay” Misses the Point of the Future of Work

July 8, 2024

ADP released research [1] into employee trends over the past few years that show some interesting insights into the future of work.

In 2021 and 2022, we saw employees take back some of the power as a record number of workers quit their full-time jobs. This coincided with an explosion in freelance and contract work, as well as a demand for more flexible work arrangements. 

Last year, we saw this trend slow down considerably. The remote work arrangements, work-life balance, and added incentives and benefits of 2020 are being replaced with “get in the office or else.”

However, the idea that the pendulum could be swinging back in favor of employers and away from employees misses the overall lesson that should be taken away from “The Big Quit.”

Is “The Great Resignation” Over?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, [2] 47 million Americans (23% of the U.S. workforce) quit their jobs in 2021. Another 38 million quit in 2022. 

Unfortunately, the market has since shifted, making it difficult for some tech workers to find employment. The unemployment rate for tech occupations increased to 3.5% in 2024 and occupations across the tech industry declined by 133,000 positions. 

Top Reasons for Leaving Previous Job

A survey by the Cengage Group found that the top reasons technology workers left their existing jobs were:

  • Feeling their values didn’t align with the company’s mission (40%)
  • Lack of challenging work (28%)
  • Lack of growth opportunities (19%)
  • Compensation wasn’t worth the amount of work (13%)

But now ADP research suggests that an uncertain job market and a lack of new opportunities are causing workers to hold on to the jobs they have. At the same time, resignations in the first quarter of 2023 were 10% lower than in Q1 2022 and the number of people returning to the job market has increased.

Most importantly, pay gains for job switchers fell 20% since June 2022. The number of positions offering hybrid or remote work options dropped to only 20% of all tech job postings. As employers feel the looming economic crisis, they are offering fewer salary and benefit incentives for employees. As big tech companies scale back on their workforces, the feeling of many leaders is that the balance of power is shifting back to the employers. However, this is far from the truth.

Employers Took the Wrong Lessons from “The Big Quit”

When the pendulum swung towards employees demanding more work-life balance and greater flexibility, many employers learned the wrong lesson. Many companies provided higher flexibility, pay increases, and benefits because it's what they had to do to stay competitive in a candidate’s market. 

Now that we’re entering “The Big Stay,” these companies feel empowered to roll back these changes and return to the pre-pandemic dynamics.

Good companies built more flexible workforces, prioritized employee well-being, and embraced the future of work because they recognized it is good for the company, creates more engaged and productive employees, and results in a higher ROI. These companies aren’t going to roll back on these changes because they actually understand what “The Big Quit” was all about.

The Cengage survey was telling because compensation was at the bottom of the list. Workers aren’t quitting because they want to get paid more, people leave because they want to do more meaningful, challenging work. This is especially true for tech workers, who are still in extremely high demand. When compared to all industries, tech workers were more likely to leave their job due to a lack of challenging work and misalignment of values and less likely to leave due to a lack of compensation and growth opportunities. 

When experts start coining phrases like “The Big Stay,” they are telling employers not to worry anymore. Stop trying so hard. Return to the office and get your employees back under your thumb - they aren’t going anywhere.

That is the wrong lesson.

How Companies Should Manage and Acquire Talent in the Future of Work

The past few years have demonstrated what is really important to workers - especially tech workers. They are looking for the freedom to pick and choose challenging work that aligns with their interests and values and the flexibility to complete it on their schedule.

This is great news for companies that have had to cut their workforces in response to the economic crisis. Companies don’t need to increase their labor costs to keep their workers engaged. In fact, they can actually cut costs while increasing speed and quality.

With the Great Resignation and the future of work came an increase in the availability of global, distributed teams. Companies can now leverage the human cloud to complete projects using fractional workers. Since these remote workers have the opportunity to choose which projects they want to work on, the freedom and flexibility they’re looking for are already baked into the arrangement.

Gigster has seen success using our managed teams to complete software development projects in less time, with less risk, and at lower costs than traditional, in-house development teams. According to Constellation Research, [4] fractional or elastic staffing results in 30% greater cost efficiency compared to traditional workforces.

While the benefits of the future of work are clear, not every company is equipped to take advantage. Gigster has spent a decade building a network of over 50,000 developers from the top schools and tech companies and we have built AI-powered project management tools and processes to manage them efficiently. However, the first step to making this change is understanding what employees want and how best to support them.

Unlock the Power of Creative Tech Talent

Empower your business with top-notch talent. Discover the limitless possibilities of how Gigster can revolutionize your business projects today.

Where Will the Future of Work Lead?

Ten years ago everyone had a grind-set mentality. Now, we’ve shifted towards prioritizing flexibility, freedom, and work-life balance. Where will the pendulum swing next?

It isn’t always wise to follow the fast-changing demands of the job market, but it is important to look at what underlying truths those demands uncover. The Big Quit showed what employees really care about and the future of work has shown the best way to provide that and benefit the company’s bottom line.

If you’re sold on the future of work but unsure how to begin, Gigster offers fully managed, distributed teams to give businesses access to global, elastic talent while maintaining predictable outcomes and unprecedented development speeds. Learn more about how to take advantage of the Gigster Talent Network.


  1. Adieze, S. (2023). MainStreet Macro: The Big Quit is over. Here comes the Big Stay. [online] ADP Research Institute. Available at:
  2. Databases, Tables & Calculator by Subject. [online] Available at:
  3. (2023). Cengage Group Research Tracks Workforce Trends and Finds Great Resigners Are Satisfied in New Roles That Offer Upskilling and Growth. [online] Available at:
  4. Hinchcliffe, D. (2019). Modern Digital Workplace Trends and Emerging Practices. [online] Constellation Research Inc. Available at:
Share This Post

Let's Build the Future of Technology Together

Let our team provide you with a no-cost, no-commitment technical proposal for your next development project:
Get a free Technical Proposal

© 2024, Gigster LLC. Terms & Privacy

OpenAI rewriter

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram