• New report highlights justified concern among workers
  • Urgent need for private and public sector collaboration to reskill employees and reduce mass unemployment
  • Shift back to ‘normal’ working culture has the ability to impact mental well-being

More than half of UK workers fear they could lose their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, according to research carried out by specialist recruiter Randstad

According to the research conducted in May, 63% say COVID-19 has negatively impacted their job, while 60% say they expect to lose their jobs if their employer is negatively impacted by the pandemic. Only half of the workers polled believe their employer would help them find a new job if they were furloughed from their current one and just a third (32%) say they believe they could rely on government support if they became unemployed.

Adjusting to the new normal.

The results highlight a growing anxiety among workers that, according to Randstad, is justified.

“Government schemes in many countries around the world have temporarily protected a large number of jobs. However, this is not sustainable and it’s clear that many jobs that existed before COVID-19, are not coming back. Among the work that may eventually return, it could take years to reach pre-outbreak levels,” says Jacques van den Broek, CEO of Randstad.

“The pandemic has upended many market norms and expectations. More than ever, workers need to learn new skills to fit into evolving businesses. To reduce mass global unemployment, private and public sectors will have to collaborate more closely than ever to help the temporarily displaced from becoming permanently displaced. Reskilling is no longer a tool for career advancement but for survival.”

Well-being during the pandemic.

Although a large proportion of employees (63%) believe that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their work, at the same time, the vast majority of Brits (85%) say they have adapted to the challenges of the new working situation and have been equipped by their employers (77%) to do their jobs digitally.

76% of workers say that they feel their employers are taking care of their well-being during the pandemic, including investing in digital tools and training (65%) and being flexible about work hours (73%) to facilitate a better balance between work and family obligations.

Still, more than half of employers (53%) expect workers to be available outside of normal work hours as they adjust to new ways of flexible working.

Graham Trevor, Randstad UK HR and Corporate Services Director said: “Career-wise we are living through the most challenging time for most since the 2008 financial crash, and what will prove to be landmark moments for many in their careers. Businesses have to

navigate their way out of the other side of a global health crisis, limiting damage where possible - we are not in a threat removal scenario when it comes to job security, but damage limitation. With lockdown measures easing and government advice changing, the shift in working culture and the journey back to some form of normality, has the ability to take its toll on employees’ mental health.

Our research has revealed that employees have clearly adapted to a new way of working, embracing the digital culture and keeping connected remotely. For many however, the idea of returning to work after such a long period of isolation or temporary leave, into a completely different working world has the ability to trigger stress and anxiety. The large population of employees who believe COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their roles and job security will require support from employers and HR professionals, who must work together to provide reassurance and modern working solutions to help with the transition back into the workplace, when they are ready.”

View report here.

Notes to editors

About the report.

The Workmonitor Covid-19 edition assesses the overall impact of the coronavirus crisis on the workforce.The study was carried out online among employees aged 18-65, working a minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job (not self-employed). 

Minimum sample size is 400 interviews for each country, based on panels from Dynata. The special edition survey was conducted from 7 to 22 May 2020 in 15 countries including the UK.

About Randstad.

Randstad is the global leader in the HR services industry. We support people and organisations in realising their true potential by combining the power of today’s technology with our passion for people. We call it Human Forward. In 2019, we helped more than two million candidates find a meaningful job with our 280,000 clients. Furthermore, we trained more than 350,000 people. Randstad is active in 38 markets around the world and has top-three positions in almost half of these. In 2019, Randstad had on average 38,280 corporate employees and generated revenue of € 23.7 billion. Randstad was founded in 1960 and is headquartered in Diemen, the Netherlands. Randstad N.V. is listed on the NYSE Euronext (symbol: RAND.AS). For more information, see www.randstad.co.uk