What 300 CIOs Think About the Great Resignation

Community Blog
Written by Liz Ramey

OCTOBER 27, 2021

The phrase “the Great Resignation” seems to be everywhere right now, doesn’t it? I’ve read several articles about it, it’s all over LinkedIn, and my team has been directly impacted by it. A few weeks ago, I was participating in a virtual discussion with CIOs on a different topic, and even then, the challenges of employee attrition came up in the conversation. 

Regardless of your role in the C-suite, it seems that everyone is impacted by it. Skilled technology roles are tough to fill as it is — what now with people making different life choices, wanting more flexibility, and deciding that the grass is greener somewhere else? We asked CIOs in Evanta communities about employee retention, attrition and recruitment in our latest pulse survey. Here are 5 things we learned from 300 IT leaders.

1. Have CIOs Been Impacted?

We started by asking if CIOs are seeing higher-than-normal rates of attrition at their organizations compared to past years. 57% of respondents said yes, while 30% said that attrition is about the same. Only 13% said they are not experiencing higher attrition rates. 

For those who answered no, we asked what they attributed their ‘normal’ attrition to? One of my favorite responses was, “A maniacal focus on the things contributing to resignations: remote work, employee engagement and experience, and burnout.” Another CIO pointed to “company culture, communication and transparency.”

2. What’s Causing Attrition?

When asked what they think is causing the turnover, 66% of CIOs said it is the fallout from the pandemic (stress, life changes, etc.), closely followed by 65% who answered that it is their competition or other companies recruiting their employees. The next highest percentage of respondents (59% of CIOs) selected high workloads, lack of resources and burnout as a top cause.

3. How Are CIOs Handling It?

The short answer seems to be by offering more flexibility. When asked what actions they are taking to retain employees right now, 75% of CIOs said that they are offering more flexibility to current employees. The next highest answers were improving company culture (64%) and reviewing compensation (64%), which were tied for second.

Flexibility was also the top strategy for recruiting new employees to their organizations with 73% of CIOs reporting they are offering remote/flexible working arrangements. Culture made an appearance at second place once again with 69% saying they are promoting culture and engagement to recruit new employees. 

Anecdotally, some CIOs shared what other strategies they are employing to combat attrition, including pulse and engagement surveys, “identifying high performers and engaging with them,” and “image and brand work” for the IT department.

4. How Much of a Priority Is It?

When asked how much of a priority employee attrition is for them right now, 73% of CIOs responded that it’s a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being their top priority. 19% even cited it as a 5, or their top priority right now - almost a fifth of executives responding to the survey. 

5. When Will It End?

The highest number of CIOs indicated that they think the “Great Resignation” will last for the next 6 to 12 months (34%), followed by 12 months or more (29%). Only a small percentage (5%) believe that it’s a near-term phenomenon, lasting 0-6 months from now.

22% of CIOs think attrition will remain high “for the foreseeable future,” and 10% believe that “it will come and go in phases.” 

In order to plan for 2022 in this environment, CIOs shared that they are engaging in the following:


Active, continuous recruiting.”

Focusing on our guiding principles and being an employer of choice.”

Expanding recruitment capabilities and opportunities for existing staff.”


To find out more about employee recruiting and retention from your CIO peers, check out our calendar of upcoming CIO events, or learn more about the results from our pulse survey here.

Liz Ramey headshot

Liz Ramey

Director, Content at Evanta, a Gartner Company

by CIOs, for CIOs

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