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Rebound from COVID-19 triggers job seekers’ market as confidence returns, new Randstad report finds

  • Written by Randstad

As employees take the driving seat, organisations need to offer more than just safety and job security to attract and retain top talent 


Forget a COVID-19 safe work environment, Australia’s in demand workforce rate work-life balance, attractive remuneration packages and leadership as top things they are looking for in an employer, the Randstad Employer Brand Research finds today. 


The annual report released by Randstad, the world-leader in recruitment, reveals a confident and buoyant workforce, ready to call the shots and look at new opportunities - just one year from the pandemic causing unprecedented disruptions to Australia’s economy and workforce. 


Asked what they are seeking from an employer in 2021, 6,850 Australian workers ranked work-life balance (63%), salaries and benefits (58%) and job security (57%) as their top priorities - above a COVID-safe environment (46%), career progression (46%) or an employer’s good reputation (45%).   


The survey indicates that employees already take the safety and stability offered by their employers as given - rating their existing employers most highly for delivering a COVID-safe environment, being financially healthy, and having a good reputation. 


This sense of confidence and stability carries through in over half (51%) of Australian workers who say they are not all concerned about losing their jobs this year, while around a quarter (24%) of the workforce are ready to look at new opportunities and swap jobs in 2021 - down from 29% from 2020 during the height of the lockdown and recession.   


Nick Pesch, CEO of Randstad, comments, “one year on from COVID-19 hitting, the economy is in growth and Australians are feeling safe and confident in their jobs again. However, fuelled by a recovering economy and locked borders many organisations are facing intense talent scarcity. It is now vital that organisations invest in employer branding to attract and retain talent in a highly competitive environment”.


Pesch continues, “This report tells us it is about the whole package - with confidence returning employers need to remunerate their staff not just financially, but also by better valuing their time in a year that made us all reassess the balance between our work and home lives”.


Nonetheless, the report reveals that a sense of job security continues to be important for employees and key to retaining talent. The fear of job loss is enough to encourage employees to switch roles, with 38% of those afraid of losing their job stating they plan to change jobs in the next six months. This is compared with 16% who feel safe in their job.


This may not be surprising, with 40% of employees stating they were either furloughed, became unemployed, worked different hours than usual or for other reasons saw their employment situation change due to COVID-19.


The survey also shows that the organisations who supported their employees during the pandemic have seen a positive impact on the loyalty of their workforce. Overall, 66% feel more loyal to their employer as opposed to 9% who feel less loyal to their employer following the impacts of the pandemic. 


Pesch says, “while we’re seeing a confident workforce in the driving seat, our report also shows that job security is key to securing loyalty. If employers show leadership and provide job security they’ll be rewarded with a workforce that sticks with them, even in a fiercely competitive market for talent”. 


Randstad is currently using the report’s findings to assist businesses to boost their employer brand to find and retain high quality talent, while developing insights in what employees look for when seeking new work. 

The Randstad Employer Brand Research recognises top industries in Australia, as well as employee sentiment about attractive qualities in a job, according to a survey of more than 6,850 Australians. 

What Australian workers are seeking from work in 2021

1. Work-life balance: 63%

6. Strong management: 49%

2. Salary and benefits: 58%

7. Location: 48%

3. Job security: 57%

8. COVID-19 work environment: 46%

4. Good training: 56%

9. Career progression: 46%

5. Pleasant work atmosphere: 53%

10. Very good reputation: 45%


Evaluation of current employer

General perception of what Australian employers offer (ranked out of 10)

Profile of ideal employer 

1. COVID-19 safe work environment 

1. Financially healthy 

1. Work-life balance

2. Financially healthy

2. COVID-19 safe work environment 

2. Attractive salary/benefits

3. Very good reputation

3. Very good reputation

3. Job security

4. Job security

4. Career progression

4. Pleasant work atmosphere

5. Work-life balance

5. Job security

5. COVID-19 safe work environment 

6. Pleasant work atmosphere

6. Pleasant work atmosphere 

6. Career progression

7. Attractive salary and benefits 

7. Attractive salary & benefits 

7. Very good reputation

8. Gives back to society

8. Work-life balance 

8. Financially healthy

9. Career progression

9. Gives back to society

9. Possibility to work remotely/from home

10. Possibility to work remotely/from home 

10. Possibility to work remotely/from home 

10. Gives back to society 

Further statistics from the Report

Top 5 channels used to find new job opportunities

Google: 31%

LinkedIn: 170%

Recruitment agencies: 28%

Company career site: 17%

Job portals / job boards (eg. monsterboard,, 27% 

Public employment services: 12%

Personal connections / referrals: 27% 

Staffing agencies: 12%

Social media: 20%

Job fairs: 9%


Employment situation changes to due to COVID-19

Continuing to work as normal: 47%

Became unemployed: 8%

Working longer hours than normal: 10%

Other: 4%

Working reduced hours / reduced salary: 16%

Not applicable: 14%

Have become furloughed: 2%

The Randstad Employer Branding report has been attached to the accompanying email. 


About Randstad

Randstad is a global leader in the recruitment and HR services industry. The company's Australian business has been supporting people and organisations in realising their true potential, helping find the best permanent and contracting talent across industries. Human connection is at the heart of the business. A personal approach, supported by state-of-the-art technology, is what sets Randstad apart in talent acquisition. Randstad is uniquely Human Forward. Visit to discover a new way to recruit.


About REBR

REBR is an independent survey with over 190,000 respondents in 34 markets worldwide, including over 6000 in Australia. The report is a reflection of employer attractiveness for the market’s 75 largest employers known by at least 10 percent of the population, providing valuable insights to help employers shape their employer brand.



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