Snapshot of the COVID-19 American Workforce: Employees like working remotely; Employers cite greater workforce productivity; How to increase diversity remains top concern
- New research from the
The report, based upon surveys of employees and managers of large US-based companies, found that 80% of respondents are very or somewhat satisfied with remote work, despite higher workloads and a lack of social interactions with colleagues. Eighty-two percent of managers said their employees are working more than they were before the pandemic, with over half saying employees were working 'a lot' more.
However, access to remote work options remains inequitable across income brackets with lower-income employees seeing fewer remote job roles. Specifically, 69% of those with an income below
The report finds that the shift to remote work has allowed employers to hire talent beyond where they physically operate. Some firms have used this opportunity to double down on diversity and inclusion. The report further explores differing sentiments among demographic groups toward remote work, including a breakdown by gender.
Key findings from the report include:
- 93% of women said they were satisfied with remote work, compared to 88% of men.
- There is an increased focus on skills training, and more than half of respondents cited training in some form as a benefit of remote work. Most respondents (including employees themselves) believed that employees should look for their own training opportunities, regardless of income level.
- Companies responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in a number of ways, from cutting jobs to reducing salaries.
- Some industries increased their efforts towards diversity hiring.
- Employers reported a high level of trust in their employees to be productive. Directors, senior management and C-suites all said they trust that employees are working efficiently, but acknowledged they have higher expectations and expect more frequent check-ins from those they manage.
- Most employees saw increased job opportunities from remote hiring, and employers were more willing to hire workers from elsewhere.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has changed employment forecasts for different sectors. Although utility companies experienced the smallest decline in employment during COVID-19, it is projected to have the largest decline of any sector over the next decade. By contrast, while leisure and hospitality have been hardest hit, the industry nonetheless expects strong employment growth.
"While the full impact of the pandemic remains unknown, it's clear that the shift towards digitalization has altered the shape, focus, and geographical dispersion of the American workforce," said
"The pandemic has accelerated trends we had already been seeing and provided a rare opportunity to clearly envision the future of work in a way that benefits the largest number of people," said Ravi Kumar, President,
The study concludes that the future of the workplace—whether in-office, remote, or hybrid—is already heralding significant changes in the relationships between employers and employees. Employees are particularly focused on adapting to the increased use of technology, adjusting their work-life balance, and developing trust and camaraderie in a remote setting. Drawing upon the survey's results, the report outlines recommendations that address both the rise of inequality and disruption stemming from the pandemic. These include strengthening the relationships between businesses and educational institutions, providing employees with financial support for their training, and the need for agility in business as we navigate the future of work and iterate on the best solutions to the unique issues it raises.
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Certain statements in this release concerning our future growth prospects, financial expectations and plans for navigating the COVID-19 impact on our employees, clients and stakeholders are forward-looking statements intended to qualify for the 'safe harbor' under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in such forward-looking statements. The risks and uncertainties relating to these statements include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties regarding COVID-19 and the effects of government and other measures seeking to contain its spread, risks related to an economic downturn or recession in
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