When the current global crisis took hold, employers had to follow government advice and tell their employees to work from home, or to close their businesses until further notice.
This movement of employees, out of offices, warehouses, retail stores and other places of work was unprecedented in modern times. 
Michael Page surveyed all job applicants through our website over this period, from June 5th to July 15th, to try and understand the support they got from their company, their feelings about the return to work, what they did with their time and other aspects of lockdown. 

How well did job applicants feel their company supported them during the crisis? 

Communication was a hot topic, and almost half of respondents (35.1 %) said they were neutral or dissatisfied with how leadership communicated change, which could be expected considering the rush to pivot. 
Employers did better with line management and a clear direction on how to adapt new practices. Most applicants (59.4 %) were neutral or satisfied with their line management and very similar 56.7 % regarding adapting new practices, a positive outcome for a difficult subject. 
And when it came to facilitating working from home, 51.3 %, the majority, were satisfied with how they were assisted. 
What about the future? Here our applicants were quite split about their thoughts, highlighting the nature of the situation the world is in. Some (27.0%) were dissatisfied, (29.7%) neutral, (8.1 %) satisfied and (16.2 %) very satisfied. 
Overall the overwhelming response by our job applicants was that their employers did support them well throughout the crisis – 74.1 % agreed that they were looked after. 

How do job applicants feel about the return to work and their place of employment? 

We asked the job applicants on the Michael Page website how they felt about certain aspects of the return to work, and overall, people are excited about it. 
In general, most people (35.1 %) are looking forward to the return to their workplace, with 18.9 % feeling more neutral about the prospect of returning. People also seem happy to be returning to the commute to work, with almost 22 % excited about taking the bus, train, car or other mode of transport to the workplace. 
The feelings of positivity extend to the personal workspace, with more people excited about returning (32.4 %) than are nervous about it (2.7 %). 
And most applicants want to socialize (48.6 %) and have lunch with colleagues again (43.2 %) highlighting the positive social aspect of workplaces, highlighting that working from home full time is not for the entire workforce. 

How did job applicants spend their time during lockdown? 

During the early stages of COVID-19 crisis many employees were placed on a type of furlough, or job freeze scheme. This meant people had time they would have normally been at work free, and those still working often had hours reduced, or flexible start and finish times. 
As part of our job applicant survey, we asked all respondents if they thought about their careers, and if they tried to improve their skills. In Switzerland, 40.7 % took part in webinars, and 36.4 % took courses to develop new skills. Some 34.7 % also took a training course to boost existing skills
Most applicants (79.7%) took time to refresh their CV and a further 78.0 % thought about career plans, with 49.2 % also trying to find a better work / life balance. These numbers highlight that the current marketplace for jobs is full of engaged applicants with new or improved skills, ready to take on the challenges of the current situation. 

What type of candidates are applying through Michael Page today? 

From the 236 participants in the survey, in terms of age, the range varies from 26.3 % over 50, 24.6 % are 40-50, 22.8 % in the 30-40 age range, and 22.1 % under 30. 
25.8 % of applicants through our site had a permanent contract, with 5.5 % on a temporary contract, compared to 61.0 % who were unemployed. However, from all applicants 73.7 % expected the COVID-19 crisis to impact their career expectations and options over the next 2 years. 
Of our applicants who had a permanent or temporary contract during the crisis, only 13.8 % were not working. The majority were either working remotely (46.3 %) or were still allowed to go to their office / retail store / warehouse or manufacturing centre (40.4 %). 
It is interesting that a majority (80.5 %) of applicants would accept different employment conditions compared to pre-COVID times, and that a focus on personal priorities is also important to 74.1 % of our applicants. 
This move towards changed conditions and personal priorities might come from the nervousness 33.8 % and 31.3 % of applicants feel around their job security for the next six or 12 months respectively. However, for some 37.5 % and 36.3 % the reverse is true over the next 6 and 12 months, showing there is a measure of confidence in the market and the recovery from applicants currently in employment. 
If you have any questions about the nature of our field work or would like to talk to a consultant about the insights Michael Page can give you into the Swiss candidate market, please get in touch by clicking here.