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Market research: understanding candidate motivations in the face of Covid-19

Published: Wednesday 5th August 2020

The coronavirus has changed the job market almost overnight. The world of work has been profoundly affected with rapid economic and social changes as a result. In an effort to interpret these recent changes into insight, Zoek has conducted market research on the impact of Covid-19 on the UK employment market, looking into job seekers’ views and candidate motivations. The survey consisted of three parts, split into demographics information, how employers are facing up to the challenges of Covid-19 and lastly, employees’ and job seekers’ feelings about future career moves.

Download our latest White Paper by Zoek & NH237 – Understanding candidate motivations in the face of COVID-19 – August 2020

Candidate motivations survey results: Employment in the face of Covid-19

According to Zoek’s candidate motivations research results, based on a sample of nearly 2,000 respondents, 41.74% of respondents are currently employed full time, 13% part time, 11.55% are on furlough while 33.71% are unemployed. Moreover, between March this year and the 23rd July, 40% of respondents replied they have spent the majority of this time working from home, whereas 25% supported they have been on furlough.

Market research: Candidate motivations infographic

The impact of Coronavirus on UK businesses

The spread of Coronavirus was expected to have a significant impact on the UK businesses. According to the candidate motivations survey, 18% of employees support that their organisation has not been significantly affected, while 23% report their organisation is struggling financially. Regarding headcount, 21% of respondents reveal that their employer is still hiring. 22% answer that the company is waiting before it makes a decision, 28% that their employer has placed people on furlough, 8% have confirmed that upcoming redundancies have been announced, whilst 12% admit their employer has already made redundancies.

Data has also revealed the importance that communication holds amongst UK businesses as more than 59% of employees support that their employer has communicated with them regularly and clearly. On the contrary, just under 4% have reported their employer has not communicated at all. In addition, following the survey results, nearly 40% of employees admit their employer has been very supportive during the Covid-19 period, while only 6% say that they’ve barely received any support and 8% that have not received any support at all.

Candidate motivation chart results on coronavirus and employer communication

Regarding a possible future career move, over 23% completely agree with the statement “I am less likely to be looking to change jobs right now compared to the period before Covid-19”. 18% have responded they broadly agree, whereas 14% of employees broadly disagree. Regarding changing jobs 18% of employees would still consider a possible move despite the pandemic.

Corporate reputation is a top candidate motivation factor

Times and times again research has confirmed that corporate reputation is an invaluable asset with an appreciable impact on a company’s bottom line. Following Zoek’s candidate motivation market research results, data establish that a company’s reputation is one of the strongest factors on candidate motivations.

In fact, when employees were asked the question “What do you need to know about a potential new employer?”, almost 50% replied they want to know that “it has a positive reputation”. Accordingly, 25% supported that they want to know the employer “has treated their people well during Covid-19” and that “they are an ethical, responsible organisation”. Accordingly, to the statement “If an organisation has a poor employer reputation as a result of Covid-19, I would be very reluctant to consider joining” 46% of employees completely agree, 33% broadly agree, 17% remain neutral, while only 4% disagree.

Candidate motivation chart results on coronavirus and employer reputation. candidate motivations

Finally, according to Zoek’s survey data, among the strongest candidate motivations when looking for a new job remain job security, flexible working as well as career progression opportunities.

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