Businesses already suffering from the impact of COVID may yet have to rethink their recruitment strategies to cope with shifting candidate expectations and behaviours in the shadow of Coronavirus.  That’s according to programmatic recruitment leader Golden Bees’ research into employee satisfaction, labour movement, and candidate expectations, published today.

The research from Golden Bees shows two fifths (38%) of the working population have considered or are considering a COVID-prompted career change. For younger workers (aged 18-34) this likelihood to move soars to 52%.

Overall, one fifth (21%) of UK workers say they have already made a COVID-inspired job move with those working in IT and computing the most likely to have already moved (48%).

A further indication of a tidal wave of labour movement, is that almost one fifth (19%) say that they are spending more time actively job hunting, since the start of the pandemic. In addition, almost a third (32%) say they would now be more open to an approach from a recruiter or company directly, and a further 31% would apply for a job that they had seen advertised.

Why are candidates so eager to move? One possible explanation could be the rise in job perceived insecurity. The research shows that – pre-pandemic – only 6% felt their job was insecure, more than half the current figure of 13%. Not surprisingly, the sector feeling the most under threat is hospitality and leisure with insecurity levels at more than double the national average (28%). Looking at the entire population, older groups (aged 55+) are most concerned, with almost a fifth (18%) of this group saying their position is not safe (more than triple the 5% before the pandemic).

This phenomenon might also have to do with evolving expectations towards their employer: the most important criteria for job satisfaction has shifted from salary before the crisis, to work-life balance today.

Coping with COVID – the new metrics and tactics for job satisfaction and security

The research shows that almost half of UK workers (47%)  think their employer has handled the pandemic well.

The report also reveals interesting insights into what employees are looking for in a job, with mental health and well-being support, now being seen as important by 15% – compared to 14% citing having a varied role and 13% wanting a clear career progression. In addition, the research shows work/life balance is now the main job satisfaction criteria for 50% of respondents (+3 points since the beginning of the crisis), followed by salary (- 3 points) and job security (2% increase).

The pandemic also appears to have heightened the importance of internal mobility with 11% of employees looking to move roles within their current company. 12% of workers are also now demanding long term flexible working, even once the restrictions have been lifted.

A war on two fronts: Attracting and keeping best talent in a post-COVID context

The report also indicates that companies looking to attract the best talent would be advised to make sure their website offers as good a candidate experience as it does for potential customers. The research found that company websites are the most important source of information for three in ten workers (30%), almost double that of personal recommendations or word of mouth (17%).

The top three pieces of information that job seekers want to find on a company were cited as; reputation as an employer (45%); employee satisfaction statistics (35%) and opportunities for new ways of working (33%).

It is often easy to overlook that despite the pandemic, workers are still moving between jobs and businesses are still continuing to hire,” said Ravi Joshi, Head of UK, Golden Bees. “One thing our research shows is that employees are already considering how it might impact their next move.

There is a very real danger that businesses will assume employees will simply stay in place in the roles and companies they are already in. But again, these figures point to a shift in priorities for UK workers and that means they will want to move.  For companies or recruiters looking to enable the movement of skills, the challenges of the current climate have only just begun. Businesses will need responsive systems and technology in place to attract the best talent, fast, in an increasingly competitive market.


About Golden Bees 

Founded in 2015, Golden Bees is disrupting recruitment by bringing programmatic technologies to bear on all aspects of labour and skills mobility across a wide variety of companies.  With more than 300 clients across 50 countries, the Golden Bees platform has been involved in more than 4m jobs and is set to change online recruitment across Europe.  For more details please see

Lisa Baker

Author Lisa Baker

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