MILLIONS of people are quitting jobs after “waking up and realising they’re a bit part in someone else’s story”, business leaders were told.

The message came in a talk on “audacious leadership” by Paul Spiers, podcaster and founder of the New P&L Brand Purpose Institute.

He spoke of the “great resignation”, the term coined for the phenomenon which saw 47million people in the US alone leave their jobs in 2021. “That’s the AFC Bournemouth stadium being filled 4,000 times,” he said.

“The chief economist of Deutsche Bank in the UK looked at jobs in the UK and found a very similar trend,” he told the event at Bournemouth's Marsham Court Hotel. 

He said more people were leaving the workforce “never to return” and that many were seeking “more purpose” and a “sense of meaning in their life”.

“Everyone I talk to at the moment is having that skills crisis and looking for that way to encourage people and incentivise and retain people,” he added.

He said leaders needed to build a “powerful legacy” and engage their staff.

“Millions and millions of people are waking up around the world and realising they’re just a bit part in someone else‘s story,” he said.

Mr Spiers was speaking at a leaders’ lunch held by Evolve, the Poole-based membership community for business leaders and entrepreneurs. The Daily Echo-backed event was sponsored by Azets and Ellis Jones Solicitors.

Mr Spiers told of his experience speaking to almost 200 global business leaders.

“Two of the themes that would come back to me are the need for more audacious leadership – and by audacious I mean brave and courageous – and the need for more resilient leadership for the huge challenges that we face as business and the new opportunities that are presented to us,” he said.

He said 30 per cent of the jobs we know now will be wholly or partly automated by the mid-2030s.

Business was also facing the challenge that by 2024, 40 per cent of the sales data they rely on will have been wrongly input on purpose by customers who did not want to share their data freely.

“Businesses have always had challenges but when you look right across the spectrum, the challenges both feel bigger and are bigger in many ways,” Mr Spiers said.

He set out the principles of audacious and resilient leadership, which included self-aware leadership; establishing audacious and resilient systems; pursuing principle and purpose; and building a powerful legacy.

Warren Munson, founder of Evolve, said the leaders’ lunches, held two or three times a year, bring together leaders with different strengths to share experience and support.

“Evolve is about bringing together business leaders and endeavouring to support each other through challenges and successes,” he said.

“That can only happen when you create a community.”