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80% Expect to Land a New Job in 2021–Despite Covid-19

Eight in 10 job candidates (80%), both active and passive seekers, foresee working for a new company in the next 12 months—despite, or possibly due to, the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.—according to the 2020 Candidate Sentiment Study by the American Staffing Association and its corporate research partner, ClearlyRated. This data from the survey, among other results, reveals a sense of optimism about employment and job-related opportunities as the nation continues to fight Covid-19.

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Other study highlights: A slight majority of job candidates (57%) are satisfied with their current employment situation. Seven in 10 (70%) are optimistic about the future of their careers.

Perceptions have changed regarding preferred work arrangements since the onset of the pandemic. Seven in 10 candidates (69%) find working remotely more desirable than at an office or other onsite location; six in 10 (60%) find permanent jobs more desirable than other types of employment arrangements; four in 10 (44%) prefer work as an independent contractor (working for themselves); and nearly a third (32%) are more open to working as a temporary employee through a staffing agency.

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Candidates also say that looking for a job is more stressful than planning a wedding (66%), public speaking (65%), the birth of a child (59%), health concerns from Covid-19 (29%), the death of a loved one (25%), and financial concerns related to Covid-19 (24%).

The 2020 Candidate Sentiment Study also sheds light on candidates’ perceptions regarding how they look for jobs (online vs. offline resources), the reasons why they decide to leave a job, and their experiences partnering with staffing agencies―with distinct differences reported among generations, industry sectors, races/ethnicities, and genders.

“To navigate the new world of work spurred by Covid-19, employers must be more attune to job candidate perceptions, needs, and priorities to effectively and strategically recruit and retain them,” said Cynthia Davidson, ASA senior director of research. “The 2020 Candidate Sentiment Study contains a wealth of data and unique insights into the minds of prospective talent.”

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