COVID-19 Pandemic Produces More Flexible Workforce

Nearly 84% of job seekers are willing to take a job outside their most recent industry or role, finds a new CareerBuilder survey.

Job seekers are becoming more open to opportunities outside their current roles, pointing to a future workforce that is more skilled and more apt to transition into new industries, according to a new CareerBuilder survey that examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on job seekers.

The survey results come after a month of particularly slow economic recovery in the U.S. as November saw the smallest number of jobs added in seven months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the survey, a third of respondents said that too much competition for jobs hampered their chances of landing a new position, indicating the need to stand out from the millions of displaced workers.

job seekers
(Credit: Getty Images/anyaberkut)

A quarter of job seekers thought the most challenging part about searching for work was being unable to find jobs in their field. The pandemic has forced an imbalance in available roles; while openings in some industries have dwindled, the economy has gained jobs in others. Job seekers are willing to adapt to these trends in the economy and match the shift in the employment landscape, with nearly 84% of survey respondents indicating they would be willing to take a job outside their current or most recent industry or role. And many are actively considering it: 61% of job seekers reported having reconsidered their current industry or role, signaling this trend is well underway.

“In this type of labor market, we are advising job seekers to be more flexible when it comes to the industry or opportunity they are looking for,” said CareerBuilder President Sasha Yablonovsky.

According to the survey, many job seekers are working to advance their own skillsets, positioning them to perform in more diverse roles. Seventy-five percent of professionals said they dedicated time to learning a new skill or completing an online education program during the pandemic.

“Companies should commit to reskilling efforts, too, to improve how they recruit and retain candidates for the long-term. We’re helping employers understand the new ways candidates are looking for jobs and how their talent acquisition practices need to evolve for the future of a more flexible workforce.” Yablonovsky added. “They need to take a skills-based approach to hiring and give more weight to this than past experience. This can be accomplished through smart technology, like our skill-based matching capabilities, and can help highlight candidates who have the necessary skills that can add value to the team.”

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Nearly 88% of respondents said they were actively searching for work; 23% had filed for unemployment.
  • A quarter said they strongly preferred flexible hours as a benefit included in a job offer.
  • 35% would turn down an offer if it didn’t allow the possibility to work remotely.

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