Everything You Need to Know About The Job Market After Covid 🦠

Sheila Bugal on December 12, 2021
Feedback Analysis

Covid – oh Covid. Have you wrecked – or reinvented the job market?

In the last two years, our work practices have undergone some significant changes. At the present time, there appears to be an increase in the number of job switches. This article examines the reasons for this by analyzing various studies – as well as our own in-house survey.

The Classic ‘Nine to Five’

“Workin’ nine to five” (thanks, Miss Parton, for that earworm) was introduced by Ford Motor Company back in the 1920s to curb factory worker exploitation. The daily routine of tumbling out of bed and rushing into traffic to get to work – most of us know the drill.

We as a society have been tied to the same system and way of working for ge👏ne👏ra👏tions. Why? Because “things have just always been that way”. Then BOOM💥! COVID-19 hits🦠.

Business man climbing the corporate ladder.

The result of Covid? The New World of Remote Work

The majority of people now prefer the flexibility of working from home, and the demand for flexible jobs is higher than ever.

Increasingly this is not just a wish – but a demand. If employers fail to comply, their workers simply… leave. Approximately half of the workers (52%) say they are considering a job change this year, while 44% have already started to plan their transition.

Flexibility ranked over higher pay and job security as the top reason respondents sought a new job (BBC). It held true even for the lowest-paid workers, where 52% of those making less than $30k cited flexibility as their top reason for leaving (Forbes).

Covid proved remote working is possible. Most people now use a combination of both on-site & home office. It should also be noted that self-care and work-life balance are trending topics among people under 35. It is therefore no surprise that the younger a person is, the greater the likelihood that they will want to work flexibly.

Caplena Survey – ‘Why did you leave your last job?

We decided to take a closer look at the reasons why people are switching their jobs right now. Following, are some of the insights we gleaned from our in-house survey of over 800 contestants.

Covid Survey Overall Insights

Bar Chart with categories including higher pay (1st); better opportunity; got fired; new goals for career or personal life; atmosphere/work culture; etc.
Bar Chart | Overall Answers to ‘Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?’

Based on first glance, it seems that the top reasons for changing jobs are fairly general – (leaving for) higher pay, better opportunities, and of course, getting fired. Getting to the core of the matter requires taking a closer look at the connections between these points, though. Most respondents did not just give one answer, but a combination. Let’s look at a chart that explores just that, the Relationship Chart.

Higher pay connecting with better opportunity; got fired; boss; could not grow in role; relocated; etc, for example.
Relationship Chart | Connections to ‘Higher Pay’

In most cases, people leave for higher pay. This is often also associated with, most of all, better opportunities, but also: new goals for personal or professional life, the job being too far from home (‘relocated’), and a better work environment. Let us explore those points a bit more.

Connection to new goals includes better opportunity; higher pay; self employed; and relocated.
Relationship Chart | Connections to ‘New Goals’

When we look at the other connections, such as new goals for career or personal life, it is clear that these are also associated with self-employment and better opportunities. Now let’s take a closer look at the verbatim responses that give a qualitative view of these topics 👇

What we can gather from this, is that there are two main code combinations of why people quit their job :

1 – ‘Money’ paired with many other reasons. Most common: a bad work environment and not feeling supported or able to grow. Money rarely stands on its own.

2 – A singular lifestyle choice-related code (usually not involving any other reasons) for reasons such as a bad work atmosphere and toxic company culture.

The most stated lifestyle choice: better worklife balance.

Happy office worker packs his things in a box and walks away from office desk.

🔔We have created a dashboard for you to deep dive into the covid details through interactive chart visualizations, verbatim samples & more!🔔

How can this be interpreted?

Nowadays, people seem to place a higher value on growth and well-being than they did in the past (read our blog article all about this here). Think back to the 1950s, when a man would walk into a paper factory to hand in his resume, and that was his job for life. It didn’t matter what the job was like, you just kind of… endured it. In today’s world, people are much more inclined to stand up for themselves and to quit – for lack of a better word – for “selfish” reasons.

What can companies do?

Talent wars will be won by companies that cultivate workplace cultures that reflect what matters most to employees. Leadership must “foster thriving cultures of internal mobility, prioritize continuous learning, and provide benefits packages to support its employees,” as suggests Falzon. Employees surveyed also expressed concern about communication and company culture. According to the Falzon study, 42% of workers intending to leave their current employer graded their company a “C” or lower in terms of how well they maintained employee connection and culture during the pandemic.

Combined with our Caplena questionnaire, this seems to make a lot of sense. Interestingly, although money was the most mentioned reason for leaving – overall – people seem to be more concerned with their overall well-being and ability to grow in the organizations they work for. Money is a factor alongside other accompanying factors (usually lifestyle-related) that people often feel is the ‘last straw’ that propels them towards that decision.

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