What does the great resignation mean for Ireland’s tax community?

What does the great resignation mean for Ireland’s tax community?

It’s a powerful phrase and certainly an attention grabbing news headline, which seems to be everywhere at the moment, but what exactly is it and is it happening within the tax community?

Kate Flanagan, Partner with Barden’s accounting and tax practice takes a closer look at what ‘the great resignation’ means for tax professionals, and shares some key advice and guidance

What is the great resignation? 

For anyone unaware of the great resignation, it’s a phrase coined by Anthony Klotz, an associate professor at Texas A&M University, and refers to the massive amount of people simply leaving their jobs as we start to exit the worst of the pandemic.  It is being described by some as a once in a generation “take this job and shove it” moment.

McKinsey has reported that 40% of employees are “at least likely” to leave their jobs in the next three to six months.

Ironically it has coincided with many companies own expansion plans.

Both are fuelling a trend that no doubt will be very disruptive to the jobs market.

Why is it happening right now? 

Whether you’ve read reports about it or not, you probably know at least one person who has left their job since the pandemic because of a feeling of burn out, or a feeling of fed up, or simply because they want to focus on themselves, their family, and so on.

For some, they’ve had no choice – the hospitality and entertainment sectors experienced the most severe impact of the pandemic with long lockdowns and many have chosen to leave these sectors and focus on other areas.

For the lucky ones who were able to keep their jobs but had to adapt to remote working, the pandemic has dramatically impacted how we live and work.  There has been a huge shift in mindset to how and where people work.

There is something bigger happening though besides the question of remote working/flexible working.  Many people have either questioned their career choice or/and realigned their thinking about working life.  There’s been talk about a desire to slow up –  a demand by employees for slowing the pace of productivity resulting in less work and more work life balance.   Apparently it’s been a long time coming, the pandemic has just accelerated the discussion.

As with any labour movement, it is a waiting game.  Personally, I believe such a movement (a slow up) can only work if it’s a collective movement.  Because our economic structure puts workers in continuous competition with each other, a worker who decides to slow the pace, could lose an opportunity, a promotion, or employment itself.  The slow up requires solidarity, flexibility and creativity.  This in itself is a whole other conversation…..

What has been happening within the tax community in Ireland? 

The tax profession is no different to any other profession/industry sector and the team in Barden have had many conversations with tax professionals throughout this pandemic. Some the many questions arising include:

  • Am in the right career?
  • How can I achieve a better work life balance?
  • Should I be progressing with this firm?
  • Should I be looking to move into industry ?
  • Should I go back to practice?
  • How are other employers approaching the return to the office?
  • How can I ensure I can keep my working from home arrangement when we’re back to “normal”?
  • Should I just leave now before getting another position ?

So, yes a lot of considerate conversations, exploratory chats and questions raised however tax professionals leaving in the sense of “take this job and shove it” approach – not so much.

In saying all of that, there is a chance that Ireland and the tax profession could just be at the cusp of this new phenomenon.  Perhaps when employers firm up their polices, or when people are back to the office on a full time basis, we will see an increase in resignations.  I think employers who listen to their employees wants and have sensible conversations about the right to work with flexible solutions for both, will be in a much stronger position than companies who go back to the way things were pre Covid.

How long will this period last?

Interestingly, Klotz who coined the phrase, isn’t too worried about the long term impact of the great resignation.  He predicts it will last for about 5 years before people want to return to the workforce.  He even reckons by 2 years, people will feel different about things.  And as companies adapt their models to meet employee needs, the very reason an employee left in the first place will no longer exist.


As humans we will always questions ourselves, our goals, our values etc.  The pandemic has forced a spotlight on issues that may have been on our minds already.  The great resignation doesn’t have to be as dramatic as it sounds for you – it can be just about asking the right questions to ensure you are on the path to being happy (whatever that means for you).

Whether you’re considering a move yourself, or interested in finding out how to retain and recruit people on your team, please reach out to the team here at Barden at any stage.


Barden’s Expert Tax Team

Aideen Murphy | Partner | Tax & Practice 

Trained through Big 4, Aideen qualified in accounting and in tax in 2012, and spent a number of years post qualification in both practice and industry before moving to recruitment in 2015.

Aideen is a founding member of Barden’s tax recruitment practice in Cork, is a subject matter expert in tax careers, is an active member of the Women in Tax committee, regularly contributes to publications on the tax profession and advises CFOs and tax leadership teams in Munster on attracting and retaining world class teams.

Contact Aideen at aideen.murphy@barden.ie or via LinkedIn.

Kate Flanagan | Partner | Tax & Practice

Trained through Big 4, Kate qualified in tax in 2006 and spent a number of years post qualification in both practice and industry before moving to recruitment in 2010.

Kate is a founding member of Barden’s tax recruitment practice in Dublin, is a subject matter expert in tax careers, regularly contributes to publications on the tax profession and advises CFOs and tax leadership teams in Leinster on attracting and retaining world class teams.

Contact Kate at kate.flanagan@barden.ie or via LinkedIn.

Aoibhín Byrne | Associate | Expert in Recently Qualified Tax, Practice and Operational Finance Careers

Aoibhín Byrne is an Associate at Barden, and an expert in recently qualified tax, practice and operational finance careers.

A proud Cork/Dublin woman she joined in October 2019. Aoibhín studied commerce with French in University College Cork (UCC). Before joining Barden she worked in KPMG.

Aoibhín is based in the Dublin office and works as part of the recently qualified and operational finance teams. In particular she works on recently qualified tax and practice careers as well as operational finance careers including accounts payable, accounts receivable and accounts assistants. Her role involves bridging the gap between the clients and the candidate’s needs and ultimately matching the right person to the right role.

Contact Aoibhín at aoibhin.byrne@barden.ie or via LinkedIn.

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