Randstad’s workmonitor 2021 first edition finds more job optimism and role for business in vaccination rollout.


the majority of workers want to go back to the workplace.

A global workforce fatigued by restrictions and safety concerns is emerging in 2021 with a more optimistic and hopeful outlook for the year ahead, our latest Workmonitor research has revealed. Conducted in the first quarter of 2021, this semi-annual survey of more than 27,000 workers in 34 markets showed that workers around the world are ready to go back to their workplace and more than willing to receive the vaccine if required by their employer. 

There is also a new optimism that additional job opportunities will emerge later in the year, contrasting with results from last year in which negative sentiments weighed heavily on most respondents around the world. Key findings include:

a role for business in vaccination rollout 

For organizations to return to a pre-pandemic state, most survey respondents believe their work environments need to also be much safer than they are now and an increase in vaccination rollout is seen by many as essential. In fact, 53% of workers say they won’t feel safe in the workplace until others around them are vaccinated, and 51% prefer to work from home until the vaccine is widely distributed.

Our survey revealed that just a quarter of workers are required by their employer to be vaccinated, with the highest percentage located in Asia and the lowest in Southern Europe. However, an overwhelming majority (75%) of respondents say they would be willing to get vaccinated if required for their job and more than half (56%) believe they will have more job opportunities once vaccinated.  This indicates a strong role for business at a critical time in the global vaccination rollout.

strong desire to return to the workplace

Until a return to work is possible, feelings of isolation, the inability to strike a healthy work-life balance and the longing for personal connections are concerns cited by a majority of workers. Indeed, 52% mention missing in-person interaction with colleagues, and more than one-third of those 18 to 24 years old feel lonely the highest percentage among all age groupsThese challenges have created a strong desire to return to the office (78%), however not necessarily in the same way as before the pandemic. 54% of respondents enjoy a hybrid work environment where they are in charge of choosing their workplace.

Anticipating what workers will need over the next months, pivoting with public health guidelines and planning for more reopenings will require employers to adapt quickly to ensure workers feel supported through the transition. The most useful action cited by over a quarter of respondents (27%) is that organizations need to strengthen their policies to help workers maintain a proper work-life balance.

optimism for the future 

The data reveals that after a year of restrictions and lockdowns, the global workforce has grown accustomed to these conditions, and they are more hopeful about the months ahead. A majority (54%) responded that they anticipate a better jobs market; however, just as they have been adversely affected throughout the pandemic, women are generally less hopeful about the jobs market.

Although optimistic about future job opportunities, 52% of respondents say their experience with work during the pandemic has motivated them to stay with their employer for the long term. In fact, around 30% said the experience they’ve had with their employer during the past year has spurred them to be more productive.

“To help employers instill greater confidence around wellness and safety, C-suite and human capital leaders need to map what a post-pandemic work environment looks like — whether that means hybrid schedules to maintain distancing in the office, incentive programs to encourage widespread vaccination or more employee assistance programs offering a variety of support mechanisms. Even when most of the global workforce is inoculated, it will take time for the workforce to acclimate to so much change ahead.”   

—Marc-Etienne Julien, CEO, Randstad Canada & Managing Director, Global Talent

You can read more detailed insights in the full report which can be downloaded from:

about the randstad workmonitor

The Randstad Workmonitor was launched in 2003 and now covers 34 markets around the world. The study encompasses Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas. The Randstad Workmonitor is published twice a year. In addition to the rotating set of themed questions, the survey also addresses job satisfaction, captures the likelihood of an employee changing jobs within the next six months, and provides a comprehensive understanding of sentiments and trends in the job market. The study is conducted online among employees aged 18 to 65, working a minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job (not self-employed). Minimum sample size is 800 interviews per market. The Dynata panel is used for sampling purposes. The first full survey of 2021 was conducted in 34 markets from 15 February 15 to March 8, 2021.

about randstad

Randstad is the global leader in the HR services industry. We support people and organizations in realizing their true potential by combining the power of today’s technology with our passion for people. We call it Human Forward. In 2020, we helped nearly two million candidates find a meaningful job with more than 236,000 clients. Furthermore, we trained close to 350,000 people. Randstad is active in 38 markets around the world and has a top-three position in almost half of these. In 2020, Randstad had on average 34,680 corporate employees and generated revenue of € 20.7 billion. Randstad was founded in 1960 and is headquartered in Diemen, the Netherlands. Randstad N.V. is listed on the NYSE Euronext (symbol: RAND.AS). For more information, see 

for more information

Elise Martin-Davies

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