Are employees more likely to consider a career switch during corona times?

The years 2020 and 2021 will have a lasting impact on all of us. Not only in our private lives where we have been forced to face many challenges, but also where our professional lives have changed completely. An obligation to work from home has meant that our work tasks had to be done from a makeshift home office. For some, the connection with their employer took a back seat. We’ve had less contact with our colleagues and also more time to reflect. After this reflection, does our current employer still mean that they are our preferred employer? Do we start to question our current worklife? For many, the whole situation leads to the following question: “Are we more likely to change employer in the current circumstances?”

Asking the question is obviously easier than answering it. A recent study by An Vandenbroeke, motivational psychologist at the Catholic University Leuven, provides insight into a number of questions. In general, the results show that in Corona times there is indeed a tendency to change employer more quickly than before the start of 2020.

The figures:

  • 1 in 3 of those surveyed experience more stress;

  • 20% of those questioned notice a poorer relationship with colleagues or management;

  • Physical and mental well-being has declined sharply among employees;

  • Doubling of the number of people looking for a new job (around 10%);

  • Motivation is one of the only parameters that has not deteriorated (for example, think of the care sector).

Work has become more prominent in our lives during Corona meaning that we also question our professional life more. In the survey, the content of our job (or lack of it) is the most important reason cited. This is even more important than the balance between home and work or a lack of social contacts.


Amandis spoke to candidates in the IT sector

As we specialise in IT recruitment, we interviewed candidates in the IT sector. During September and October, we carried out a survey on the reasons for changing jobs within IT. This showed that, for most people, the start of the Corona crisis was a period of reflection. For many, being locked up in their own home brought home the fact that their current employer was not an ideal match.

The reasons cited by our IT candidates can be broken down into several categories:

  • Personal factors play a role. Candidates were, in some cases, obliged by their employers to go to the work office in the midst of a crisis, despite this being forbidden. This makes people question their employer and the freedoms that it gives them. After a few interviews, it quickly became clear that the work environment is one of the first things to come up in such life reflection. Additionally, a loss of training opportunities in the IT sector, made people feel more dissatisfied.

  • Social factors also play a major role.  Lost ties with colleagues are also a catalyst for people to change employers. Team-bonding activities that were once organised by the employer were no longer taking place and relationships with colleagues drifted apart.

  • Finally, the change in the economic field cannot be underestimated either. During our interview, the subject came up repeatedly that because of the economic downturn, certain job responsibilities were taken away or even outsourced to another country in order to make cost savings. In these instances, workers were left with less job variety and the feeling of less job security.

Finally, the question was also asked if this propensity to seek a change  of job was greater from March 2020 (the start of the Corona crisis). Almost all candidates gave affirmative answers. According to our research, candidates gave more thought to their working environment than was the case before 2020. In addition, the tendency to effectively set the movement in motion had also increased significantly.


Can organisations try to counter this trend?

In order to improve retention of employees, two important issues are mentioned by a series of experts.

Firstly, as an employer, it is important to establish a certain culture. By culture, we mainly mean how the employer relates to all of its employees. Of course, you cannot change the culture within a company overnight, but small initiatives can be taken.

  • Organise activities

Importantly, this does not necessarily have to be complicated or grand. Some small initiatives could be:

  1. A walk in the afternoon with colleagues, away from the office environment.

  2. Organising a social drink or dinner can also do a lot for colleagues

  3. At least one annual get-together with the entire company

  • Attention to recruitment and selection

It is an understatement to say that you have to hire the right candidates for the right job. However, as an employer it is also a task to treat that employee correctly. Frequent contact is very important in this respect, to pass-on your corporate culture to new employees. If, for example, you position yourself in the market as a young and trendy company, you need to reinforce this from the start.

  • Attention to training and education

In 2021 an employee is, typically, less satisfied if there are no opportunities for growth in their job. As an employer, attention should certainly be paid to this factor. Of course, it is important to give the employee the necessary support to reach the heights they have in mind. This can mainly take the form of education and training.


Secondly, as an employer it is also important to practice employer branding. This refers to how you present your company to the outside world. The ultimate goal here is for the employees to be proud of the company’s name. A concrete example is outlined below.

As an organisation, you can choose a public event (e.g. a sports or running event) in which you encourage as many employees as possible to participate. If you can provide them all with the same T-shirt or a stand along the way, this will also attract the attention of other attendees and thus create a public, positive image in the larger community. Ideally, this should be complemented by a large crowd of supporters.