The outbreak of coronavirus has taken an enormous toll on the global workforce, with billions of people facing restrictions and companies worldwide forced to operate in new and challenging ways.

While working from home is standard practice for the majority of the former office-based population, and even considered better for employee mental health,  job security has also become more important than ever, as job losses continue to occur and are expected to spike once the furlough scheme comes to an end. 

Meanwhile, in just one year, the power appears to have shifted from workers who enjoyed a low unemployment rate before COVID-19 to employers having the upper hand, with the ability to pick from a larger pool of active job seekers. For those who are out of work or in non-essential roles, reskilling and upskilling should be considered to remain relevant in a transformed digital economy. 

Advantages of engaging with and considering utilising the pool of talent that are willing to change professions and working examples:

The latest edition of the Randstad Workmonitor Report found both encouraging signs and barriers expressed by workers. This also presents an opportunity for employers to ensure that their hiring strategies are tweaked to be at the ready to help their organisation thrive through effective recruitment and training. 

The new global survey behind the report was conducted in October across 34 countries, drawing comparisons of employment trends across the world. The below stats are taken from the UK dataset to paint a more relevant and tangible picture of what employees are looking for, once the light at the end of the tunnel is reached. 

With vaccines now approved and being rolled out at speed, time is of the essence for employers to arm themselves with insights to react accordingly to a rapidly changing market.

Diversity and inclusion.

Even as the world adjusts to living under COVID-19, 2020 has brought many other issues to the forefront of the labour market. Our research showed that, overwhelmingly, 80% of workers across the world feel their company offers an inclusive environment. 

Whether or not recent social justice movements have renewed efforts to ensure diverse and inclusive practices in the workplace, 2020 has highlighted the importance of an inclusive environment, and employers are gradually understanding the benefits of working with a diverse workforce. 

Training is also high on the priority list to help build a diverse workforce and create elements of an inclusive environment, with a diverse leadership team desired by over a quarter (28%) of UK respondents. When comparing these figures against what companies have demonstrated, just 19% said that their employer is creating elements of an inclusive work environment and workplace, including being open to considering other people’s opinions.

When asked what are the most important initiatives their employers can undertake to be more inclusive, over a third (37%) ranked ‘building a diverse workforce’ as their top priority;

which of the following is the most important to you about an employer’s efforts to be inclusive;

Building a diverse workforce 37%
Employee training  34%
Having people from diverse backgrounds in leadership positions 28%
Creating elements of inclusive work environment and workplace, including being open to and considering other people’s opinions 25%
Encouraging employee resource groups (Pride, D&I practices)  20%

One of the biggest challenges in preparing for a post-covid world is that clients, partners and employees are expecting businesses to build back responsibly. The impact of this virus has brought into sharp focus the disproportionate impacts and inequalities across diversity groups from ethnicity to social mobility. This year we have brought work into our homes, and with that shared more of our true selves than ever before. For me, building back responsibly is fundamentally about all individuals feeling included, valued, respected and able to bring their best and whole selves to work in their full uniqueness and complexity.

Laura Todd - Director of Inclusion and Wellbeing Randstad UK&I Randstad Sourceright EM

Financial health over physical health.

With many organisations taking advance of the furlough scheme or enforcing temporary salary cuts, it’s not surprising that half of those surveyed in the UK want future salary protection in their jobs. More respondents said this was a greater priority for them than any other consideration, including job security (a third), training and even health policies and safety protocols, which have been front of mind for all employers this year. 

respondents ‘like or expect’ the following values/initiatives in a job post covid;

Salary protection 50%
Training 47%
Health policies and safety protocols 33%
Job security 33%
Team collaboration 25%

Where jobseekers may have previously looked at salary as a binary figure and leading factor when looking for a new role, there is now a bigger picture to consider. Guaranteed income and the reassurance of regular pay in an unpredictable economic environment is comforting, with many this year having to make use of government support schemes and mortgage breaks to stay afloat. 

Employers who are thriving during the pandemic and are able to offer this can gain a competitive advantage. For those looking to begin hiring in near future, the importance of being able to offer this has the ability to attract top tier talent. 

For more insight and global workforce trends from around the world, download the full report below.

About Workmonitor

The study is conducted online during October 2020 among employees aged 18 to 65, working a minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job (not self-employed). Minimum sample size is 800 interviews per market. The Dynata panel is used for sampling purposes.

The full survey of 2020 was conducted in 34 markets from October 13 to 26, 2020.

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