The Future of Work: Coronavirus and the workplace

The Future of Work: Coronavirus and the workplace

The pandemic has impacted work in a way that was potentially foreseeable but was very rushed as organisations had to adapt to new ways of working overnight. A huge amount of professionals all across the globe started working from home and some, unfortunately, lost their jobs as their companies could not make it through the crisis, for a range of reasons. Over a quarter of professionals were directly driven to look for a new position due to COVID-19. 

In this instalment of our series on the Future of Work, we’re taking a closer look at the impact of coronavirus on the workplace. These findings are part of our 2021 Work & Pay Report, in which we asked over 35,000 professionals how their work was impacted by the pandemic. You can request your free copy of the report below:

Direct impact of Coronavirus on the job market

Percentage of professionals looking for a new position due to coronavirus

While COVID-19 has driven 29% of consultants to want to leave their consulting companies and predominantly join corporates, almost the same proportion of ex-consultants are tempted to go back into consulting. Because startups have been the most impacted by the coronavirus crisis, it is also from this industry that most candidates want to change or leave (30%).

Although the pandemic did not impact most professionals’ opinions towards their employers, employees at more junior positions have been more critical of their employers. Indeed, over 30% of professionals working at Analyst level now have a worse opinion of their employers, while roughly ¼ of their more senior counterparts have changed their opinion for the better.

Change of professionals' opinion on their employers during the pandemic

The change to Working Hours due to the coronavirus

Across all industries and seniorities, working hours were 4% higher in 2020 than the previous year. Although this trend is true for all company types, it is especially pronounced for Private Equity and Venture Capital funds, with an average of 8% increase in working hours. 

The reason why work was much more intense on average, can be partially explained by the fact that a crushing majority of professionals started to work from home overnight. Across the globe, over 80% of people who retained their jobs found themselves adapting to a remote working setup. This was less so the case in New Zealand with barely a quarter of professionals stopping to commute to their offices regularly, because of the swiftness with which the pandemic was put under control.

Coronavirus and Compensation

Share of professionals who received a pay rise pre- and post-pandemic

And professionals looking for a new role had to reconsider their expectations, since the gap between salaries expected and actually offered has shrunk by nearly 35% in 2020. That being said, a great majority of professionals who remained in their positions during the pandemic received a pay rise, despite the harsh economic conditions.

Coronavirus and Wellbeing

The pandemic has really taken its toll on professionals’ mental health, with the constant uncertainty, increased work hours, and the impossibility to entertain themselves as usual. Nearly half of respondents reported that COVID-19 had a direct negative impact on their mental wellbeing. This number is likely to have gone up since they replied to our survey due to numerous later restrictions and the economic repercussions of the pandemic which were felt at a later point during 2021.

Freelancing during the coronavirus epidemic

Freelance projects that have become more common during the pandemic

As we have previously mentioned, some ex-consultants are looking to get back into consultants. In the meantime, 23% of consultants currently in a role are looking to offer their services and expertise in a freelance capacity. 

Although an overwhelming majority of freelancers did not experience a change in typical project length due to COVID-19, there is still a significant portion who saw their projects shorten. The typical project duration averages between 2 to 6 months, and a little over 20% are under 2 months. 

When it comes to the types of projects themselves, over a third of freelance consultants have seen a change in project demand. Most projects involve transformation (whether digital or not) as we have seen on Movemeon, with a clear increased demand in Change and Transformation projects from our clients in 2021.

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