Aleda Stam
Sep 03, 2021

Edelman report details how the pandemic has changed what employees look for in a job

Five takeaways for communicators from Edelman's The Empowered Employee study

Getty Images
Getty Images

The global Covid-19 pandemic has changed what employees look for in a job, according to Edelman's The Empowered Employee study. 

The Spring update to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer found that 77% of respondents trust their employers, and 54% look to their employers as a trustworthy source of information. 

However, The Empowered Employee study, conducted in mid-August, shows employees are being more scrupulous about the employers they choose to work for and therefore trust. The study surveyed 7,000 employees in seven markets, including Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. across all sectors and industries.

Here are five takeaways for communicators from the study:

Workers know their value. About 61% of respondents are now choosing jobs based on their personal beliefs. To that end, half believe they have the power to get a company to change almost anything about itself, and 76% are willing to put in the work to produce or motivate changes that the employee deems necessary within an organization.  

Purpose is here to stay. ESG is important to employees, not just investors. Of those surveyed, 62% say they’d accept a job from an organization being socially responsible and conscientious about its environmental impact, and 81% want access to training programs to help keep their skills up to date. DE&I is also important, with 75% of employees expecting more diversity at all levels of an organization, but only 32% say their employers are meeting that expectation.

Employees are willing to leave to find what they're looking for. A fifth of those surveyed have left their job in the last six months or plan to do so in the next six months, and less than a third of them did so looking for better compensation. Instead, 57% wanted a job that better fit their values, and 47% want a job that better fits their lifestyle. 

It's worth the risk for businesses to take a stand. Employees are more likely to work for a company or organization that publicly demonstrates commitment to supporting issues. Respondents were almost 10 times more likely to want to work for a business that supports healthcare access and human rights, eight times more likely to work for a company that supports battling economic inequality, gender inequality and climate change and seven times more likely to work for a business that supports COVID-19 vaccinations and fights racism. 

Employers can build trust through impact. Workers want their employers to follow through, with 67% expecting an organization to act on its values, but only 58% saying their company is meeting this expectation. Sharing the power to make change will also go a long way. Almost 70% of those surveyed expect their employers to stop certain business practices if employees objected, but only 41% say their company would actually do that. 
(This article first appeared on
Campaign India

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