An extremely surprising year, marked by changes and big problems, 2020 saw upheavals both in the labor market and in the way people perceived their job and professional evolution. After last year's shock, 2021, however, finds employees somewhat calmer and more prepared, as evidenced by the high degree of optimism highlighted by a recent survey conducted by the online recruitment and job application platform, eJobs. Optimism is manifested in the hope that the pressure at work will be reduced, says the director of eJobs, Bogdan Badea, who believes that the stress at work was caused by a combination of factors.
Bogdan Badea: "The mix consists of the pressure produced by the health crisis, the employers who pressured people to achieve previous results in a difficult year marked by the pandemic and restrictions, but also the fear of losing their job. Those who had a stable job did not look for anything else out of the desire to find something better, but they wanted to keep their current job. But from the point of view of the total registrations on the platform, the year 2020 marked for us an absolute record. Five months of 2020 was the best period in the platform's 21-year history. But it was mainly about people who needed a job: either they had lost their previous one, or they were about to become unemployed, because their company was not doing well. Therefore, the number of registrations jumped by one million per month, which is well above the normal average, ie over 40% or even 50% more than in 2019."
These figures indicate not only that many people have lost their jobs due to the health crisis, but also that many people want safer jobs in 2021 in case a similar situation occurs, says Bogdan Badea. Proof of that is the increase in the need for professional reconversion and in the decrease of the demand for jobs abroad where the situation is still uncertain.
Bogdan Badea: "In 2020, the desire for reconversion increased. Between 10% and 15% of the participants in the survey went through such a change, and after completing professional retraining courses, fortunately it was much easier for them to find work. On the other hand, in terms of the demand for jobs abroad, here we see a spectacular decrease. In 2019, out of a total of 10 million applications registered in the platform, around two million targeted jobs abroad. So, at that time, the Romanians' desire to work abroad was big. But in 2020, this percentage dropped from 20% to 2%. A spectacular decrease, and in 2021, even in January, we can see that this percentage remains quite low."
What else do employers expect in 2021, also as a result of the pandemic? Flexibility of the work schedule, Bogdan Badea says:
"Flexible working hours. This flexibility has existed before in many companies, especially multinationals. I think that, just as working from home in the hybrid version will be extended, alternating with working at the office, so the flexibility with regard to the start and the end of the work schedule will continue and both sides are willing to do that. Both employers and employees want this, and most candidates are looking for jobs that have a flexible work schedule and allow them to work from home."
Flexibility goes hand in hand with predictability after an extremely difficult year such as 2020, Petru Păcuraru, the director of a human resources company believes:
"I think the main thing the employees were looking for this year was predictability. Although it was a very difficult year in many ways, people suffered a lot because they did not know what would happen in the near future: whether a vaccine would appear or not, how long they'd have to work from home or isolate themselves. Also, people felt the need for flexibility. Working from home, with their children not being able to go to school or kindergarten, they had to juggle all these elements. This juggling requires high energy consumption and less rigidity of the work schedule so that at some point, to also include time for the personal life."
Initially received with much hope and enthusiasm, working from home quickly showed its limitations. However, it remains a viable option for both employees and employers who will probably prefer a hybrid regime: one week of remote working, and the rest of the time working in the office.
Petru Păcuraru: "I think teleworking is something we'll be keep talking about 50 years from now. Teleworking means that part of the costs related to money and time needed to travel to the office will be redirected. Obviously, this also entails a set of skills that people don't initially have. One aspect refers to the separation of the professional and personal lives in the same space of one's own home. This is the great lesson we need to learn in relation to remote working. And because we did not know how to deal with that, we've registered the highest burnout rate since this thing started being measured. But in the future this ability can be developed thanks also to courses on this subject. Gradually, people will be disciplined in this sense further, in 2021, which will be a hybrid year: that is, many companies will opt for their employees working from home two or three days a week." (MI)