57% of employees second-guessing careers during COVID-19 pandemic


Many workers said they are more motivated to be employed at a company that values its staff during unpredictable times, Robert Half found.

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More than half (57%) of workers said they have experienced a change in their sentiments toward work during the coronavirus pandemic, data from Robert Half found. During such unpredictable times, some 60% of that number said they want to be employed at an organization that values its staff.  

SEE: Top IT certifications to increase your salary (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

COVID-19 has thrown a major wrench in both the enterprise and economy, resulting in millions of furloughs and layoffs. More than 44.2 million US employees have filed for unemployment claims since the start of coronavirus shutdowns, according to Fortune. Those lucky enough to still have jobs have still been impacted, reevaluating their current employment during such trying times. 

“This has been a time of reflection and reprioritization for businesses and people,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half, in a press release.

“Purpose is at the forefront of everyone’s mind right now, and professionals are assessing whether their company’s values align with their own,” McDonald said. “Employers should take this opportunity to reinforce for their teams the organization’s mission and community involvement.”  

Changes in attitude

Of the 57% of employees who have experienced a shift in feelings about their work situation, some 40% said they would prioritize their personal life over their job moving forward. 

Some 33% of those respondents also said they want to pursue a more meaningful or fulfilling position. During an era of great uncertainty, employees appear to be taking this time to look inward, the data found. 

“As businesses focus on the future and when hiring ramps up, workers may begin to explore their options. Continuing to be flexible and responsive to employees’ needs will be critical for retention,” McDonald said in the release.

More employees between ages 25 and 40 (68%) said they experienced a change of perspective during the pandemic than respondents ages 41 to 54 (45%) and 55 and older (40%), indicating that older employees would prefer not making a change in that point in their careers. 

Looking at gender, more women (65%) than men (56%) expressed interest in working for a company that appreciates its employees during chaotic, uncertain times. 

Almost an equal number of working parents (41%) and employees without children (39%) said they wanted to place a greater focus on personal versus professional activities, the report found.  

Employers hoping to keep employees might consider offering more flexible schedules that allowed for windowed work. Other research from Robert Half suggested that this type of schedule is considered a perk for employees, and the majority (73%) reported the arrangement leading to boosted productivity

The enterprise has already been moving toward remote work and flexible schedules, but the pandemic has placed an even greater emphasis on the trends, as shown in the data.

“Whether it’s windowed work or alternative hours, people are happier and more productive if they have control over when—and where—they do their jobs,” McDonald added in a release

“Providing employees with flexibility will be just as important when organizations prepare to reopen and transition back to the office as it has been since the start of the pandemic,” he said. 

For more, check out 15 most in-demand tech skills for upskilling or job searching during COVID-19 on TechRepublic.

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