A must read piece : Randstad CEO Foreword to WorkMonitor 2022

Randstad Workmonitor 2022 Foreword (Sander van ‘t Noordende, CEO and Chair of the Executive Board Randstad N.V.)

Over the past two years, the global workforce has battled down tremendous adversity. Facing existential challenges brought on by the pandemic, employees have overcome profound threats to emerge intact and renewed. As we recover from the pandemic, one thing is clear in the world of work: the dynamic between talent and employers has shifted. A heightened sense of purpose now guides people’s career choices and the work that they do. Welcome to a new era of self-determination.

Our latest research reaffirms such sentiments. This is especially true for those under 35, with a majority saying they would quit if their job prevented them from enjoying life. Most respondents across all age groups also said their personal life is more important than their work life. ***Happiness at work is a priority for many people in the post-pandemic age: they want their values reflected in the mission of their company and leaders. Job flexibility is expected and most want access to training and development resources. It’s not surprising that Gen Z and Millennials are the ones leading the charge for a new social contract with employers, as they are often on the forefront of societal change.

Our survey of 35,000 employees across 34 markets — one of the largest studies of its kind in the world — shows that the strongest sentiments around aligning work with personal goals are harbored by the youngest respondents. Opinions diverged across age groups on issues such as job flexibility, work life balance, personal and professional growth and corporate social responsibilities.

Our data revealed that not only will many younger employees not accept a job that doesn’t meet their expectations, but they are also willing to walk away from one if it interferes with how they want to lead their lives.The “Great Resignation” that began last year hasn’t slowed, with one-third saying that they have quit a job because it didn’t fit within their personal lives.

Among those 35 and younger, that figure was more than 40%. And in a sign of growing interest in social causes, ***41% said that they wouldn’t accept a job with an employer unwilling to make efforts to improve their diversity and equity record — with about half of those 18–24 feeling this way.

We undertook this survey at the beginning of the year to understand the sentiments of the global workforce after two long years of life under COVID-19. But, as life gradually returns to normal, we wondered: are employees rejuvenated about their jobs and careers again?

The good news for employers is that a majority (60%) are committed to their current employers and 72% say that work is important to their lives. The stress and uncertainties of the past two years seem not to have diminished people’s professional aspirations or outlook. In fact, about half say that they are confident that they would be able to find a new job quickly if they were to lose their current one. And 70% are open to new opportunities if the right one comes along.

We do, however, see warning signs that the “Great Resignation” may persist. Even though 83% and 71% say that flexible hours and workplace are important, respectively, a majority don’t feel that they have a choice of where to work, and two in five can’t control their hours. ***At a time when talent scarcity is impeding so many employers, failing to meet the expectations of an enlightened workforce can be disastrous for organizations seeking the best people. Talent scarcity is here to stay — at least for the time being. Structural deficiencies that existed in the global labor market pre-pandemic made sure of that. And with the acceleration of digital transformation during the past two years, the skills gap has only widened.

So in today’s highly competitive labor market, how can companies stand out from competitors to become an employer of choice?

We believe focusing on these five areas is essential: fitting work around people’s lives,aligning values, strengthening attraction strategies, offering job flexibility, and accelerating professional development.

Businesses that can deliver on all five value propositions are poised to attract the best people. Everyone else can expect longer hiring times, ***higher recruitment costs and losing out on exceptional talent.

I invite you to explore on the following pages the views of 35,000 employees regarding each of these five areas. We explain what the numbers mean and what companies must do to attract and retain the best people.

The world of work has undergone a tremendous shift during the past two years. To stay ahead of the competition for talent, companies — now more than ever— need to adopt a ***people-first mentality.

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