We are in the second year of the pandemic and all the curves for infection rates, incidence, and vaccinations make us cautiously optimistic. We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Reason enough to analyze the effects of COVID-19 on the labor market. Who is afraid of losing a job, how many are really working from home, what shifts have there been in the willingness to switch jobs? Randstad asked these questions in its annual employer brand study of over 4,000 workers in Switzerland.

Switzerland as affected as the rest of Europe

For whom has the employment situation changed due to COVID-19? 38% of respondents said they had been affected by the effects of the pandemic; 10% are working longer hours than normal, 14% have seen their hours reduced, 4% are on short-time work or became unemployed, and 6% named other reasons. In contrast, there are 54% who have not experienced any changes. 

RAN DE Employerbrandstudie schweiz Covid
RAN DE Employerbrandstudie schweiz Covid

The pandemic hit all groups equally, regardless of gender, age, or education, only young men between the ages of 18 and 24 were slightly more likely to become unemployed. The Swiss figures hardly differ from the average in other European countries. 

How did this change affect the state of mind and circumstances with regard to work? More than half of the respondents (52%) stated that they work exclusively or partially remotely or at home. 57% said they had been involved in that decision, the rest had had no say in it. Almost 30% of the respondents did not have this option because their job cannot be done remotely or from home. 1% said they had a job suitable for working from home, but were not given permission from their employer. 

Job anxiety increases readiness to switch

The pandemic has also left emotional traces in working life: almost one in five workers (19%) are afraid of losing their job, regardless of age, gender, or education. Job anxiety and changes in employment situations due to COVID-19 are also affecting workers' readiness to switch. 29% of those affected by COVID-19 are planning to switch, including a good third of employees (36%) because they fear losing their jobs. Of those who are not afraid of losing their job, but have also been affected, only 11% plan to switch.

For employers, professional crisis management pays off. A good working atmosphere, wages and social benefits, financial stability, job security, etc. have always been workers' top criteria when choosing an employer. Competence in managing crises would now have to be included in that list. Dealing with the pandemic in general and the support received from employers have resulted in 54% of those surveyed feeling more loyal to their employer than before the pandemic. The opposite is the case with 9%. Those who were included in the decision to work remotely showed a higher increase in loyalty than those who were forced to do so. It is reasonable to assume that it was not just about the result of the decision itself, but above all the inclusion of the worker in the decision-making process.

female employee smiling
female employee smiling

What will stay the same?

Due to the pandemic and lockdown, working from home has shifted from a rare thing to a mandatory and majority model. And working from home is here to stay. Almost half (44%) of those surveyed find the opportunity to work remotely attractive, which will make this factor relevant when choosing a future employer. Above all, women and employees with a higher level of education are the groups who rate working from home as important. Whether they work full-time or part-time makes no difference in this assessment. After being forced to work from home showed no loss in productivity, it will be difficult for employers to attempt to restrict eligibility for this in the future.

About the Randstad Award and Randstad Employer Brand Research

The Randstad Award is presented annually to the most attractive employer in over 34 countries. The results are based on world's most representative and comprehensive employer branding study. The Randstad Employer Brand Research is an independent study in the field of employer branding. Companies cannot apply to participate; they will be selected for the study based on their number of employees.

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