The Pulse

38% Of Workers Say Pandemic Contributed To A Career Setback

Gen Z professionals most likely to feel stuck

Recent market research by Robert Half reveals how retention is a key focus for employers as the recovery progresses. View an infographic of the research highlights here.

MENLO PARK, Calif., May 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — According to new research from global staffing firm Robert Half, 38% of professionals said their career has stalled since the start of the pandemic — and that number jumps to 66% for those ages 18 to 24. In a separate poll, 59% of senior managers revealed that they postponed promoting top performers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and 78% of those respondents worry about staff retention as a result.


How Careers Have Taken a Hit

Workers experiencing a stalled career reported feeling stuck when it comes to:

  • Salary growth: 54%
  • Career advancement: 47%
  • Ability to grow their professional network: 47%
  • Skills development: 44%

And some professionals shared that they’re ready for a career move: Nearly 1 in 3 respondents said they had a shift in perspective due to the pandemic and want to pursue a more meaningful or fulfilling job.

Job Market Rebound

“As the job market continues to rebound, employers need to be concerned about retention,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half. “Younger professionals, especially, want to be challenged and may leave if they’re unsatisfied. Now is the time for managers to invest in upskilling, review performance goals and develop mentoring programs that benefit all employees.”

Excerpts from the Robert Half Blog ’14 Effective Employee Retention Strategies’

1. Onboarding and orientation — Every new hire should be set up for success from the start. Your onboarding process should teach new staff not only about the job but also the company culture and how they can contribute to and thrive in it. Don’t skimp on this critical first step: The training and support you provide from Day One, whether in person or virtually, can set the tone for the employee’s entire tenure at your firm.

Need to onboard employees remotely? Check out the tips in this post.

2. Mentorship programs — Pairing a new employee with a mentor is a great component to add to your extended onboarding process, especially in a remote work environment. Mentors can welcome newcomers into the company, offer guidance and be a sounding board. And it’s a win-win: New team members learn the ropes from experienced employees, and, in return, they offer a fresh viewpoint to their mentors.

But don’t limit mentorship opportunities to new employees. Your existing staff — and your overall employee retention outlook and team’s job satisfaction — can greatly benefit from mentor-mentee relationships.

Now is the time for managers to invest in upskilling, review performance goals and develop mentoring programs that benefit all employees...

3. Employee compensation — It’s essential for companies to pay their employees competitive compensation, which means they need to evaluate and adjust salaries regularly. Even if your business isn’t able to increase pay right now, consider whether you could provide other forms of compensation, like bonuses and paid time off. Don’t forget about health benefits and retirement plans, too. Improving those valued offerings can help raise employees’ job satisfaction.

4. Perks — Perks can make your workplace stand out to potential new hires and re-engage current staff, all while boosting employee morale. According to research for our Salary Guide, flexible schedules and remote work options (separate from pandemic-related stay-at-home orders) are the perks many professionals value most. In addition, about a third of the employees we surveyed said paid parental leave is a big plus.

5. Wellness offerings — Keeping employees fit — mentally, physically and financially — is just good business. But the pandemic has prompted many leading employers to expand and improve their wellness offerings so that employees feel supported and prioritize their well-being. Stress management programs, retirement planning services and reimbursement for virtual fitness classes are just some examples of what your business might consider providing to employees.

6. Communication — The pandemic has helped underscore the importance of good workplace communication. Your direct reports should feel they can come to you with ideas, questions and concerns at any time. And as a leader, you need to make sure you’re doing your part to help promote timely, constructive and positive communication across the entire team, including onsite and remote employees. Make sure you proactively connect with each staff member on a regular basis, too, to get a sense of their workload and job satisfaction.

7. Continuous feedback on performance — Many employers are abandoning the annual performance review in favor of more frequent meetings with team members. In these one-on-one meetings, talk with your employees about their short- and long-term professional goals and help them visualize their future with the company. While you should never make promises you can’t keep, talk through potential career advancement scenarios together and lay out a realistic plan for reaching those goals.

Read more here.




About the Research
The online surveys were developed by Robert Half and conducted by independent research firms. They include responses from more than 2,800 workers 18 years of age or older (collected from March 26 to April 15, 2021) and more than 2,800 senior managers (collected from November 19 to December 18, 2020) at companies with 20 or more employees in the U.S.
About Robert Half
Founded in 1948, Robert Half (NYSE symbol: RHI) is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. The company has more than 300 staffing locations worldwide and offers hiring and job search services at