More than one year after the first confirmed US COVID-19 case, the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the way we work, learn, interact, and more. Organizations around the country continue to operate remotely to mitigate the spread of the contagion in-house, and millions remain unemployed. On Tuesday, Indeed released a report detailing employer sentiment about the job market, anticipated hiring, the future of telecommuting, COVID-19 safety measures at work, and more.
“Challenging times can make or break relationships, and last year proved that employers and employees can and will come together when it matters,” said Liz Lewis, an Indeed writer and researcher in the press release.
Virtually all employers (92%) said that their employees “pulled together to weather the crisis” and a similar number of employers (87%) felt as though they supported their workers “as much as possible.” Employer sentiment regarding workforce productivity and business growth remains positive. Three-quarters of employers (73%) said they felt optimistic about employee productivity and seven in 10 believe their company will grow.
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About two-thirds of employers planned to allocate annual bonuses in 2021, according to a Willis Towers Watson survey published last October, and employer sentiment regarding pay raises seems equally positive for employees. More than half of employers (54%) reported feeling optimistic regarding employee salary increases in 2021, according to Indeed.
If employer optimism about the future labor market is any bellwether, hiring could see a boost in the months ahead. Compared with pre-pandemic levels, more than one-quarter of employers (27%) are planning to “hire at higher volumes” and one in five expect to hire at the same rate. One in 10 are anticipating a continuation of new hiring freezes, and 4% foresee layoffs.
The top reasons employers believe “new talent will join their companies” between now and December includes “better job security,” higher wages, and the organization’s “positive business outlook.”
In the age of remote work and distance learning, the home serves as an office, virtual learning center, and residence for many households. As a result, the line between personal space and professional life can at times blur. The majority of employers (60%) “feel good about work-life balance moving forward.” About half of employers (46%) feel as though leaders and those in managerial positions will have a “greater awareness” about “the challenges of balancing caregiving” and professional life, and a similar number (40%) anticipate increased consideration about employee mental health and wellness.
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While many workforces continue to operate remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic, some companies have started to bring employees back to the traditional office in recent months. To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on site, organizations have leveraged a vast suite of technologies ranging from thermal imaging to artificial intelligence (AI). Virtually all of the employers surveyed (88%) said they are “ready to implement COVID-19 safety measures.”
In recent months, some organizations have made long-term commitments to remote work. In the interim and post-pandemic, hybrid and remote workforces could reshape the traditional office and even cities around the county. More than half (57%) of employers anticipated increased telecommuting options.
The Indeed report is based on an Indeed survey conducted between Nov. 13 and Nov. 20, 2020, involving 319 employers across the US, according to an Indeed representative.