80% Expect to Land a New Job in 2021—Despite Covid-19


Eight in 10 job candidates (80%), both active and passive seekers, foresee working for a new company in the next 12 months—despite, or possibly due to, the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.—according to the 2020 Candidate Sentiment Study by the American Staffing Association and its corporate research partner, ClearlyRated. This data from the survey, among other results, reveals a sense of optimism about employment and job-related opportunities as the nation continues to fight Covid-19.

Other study highlights: A slight majority of job candidates (57%) are satisfied with their current employment situation. Seven in 10 (70%) are optimistic about the future of their careers.

Perceptions have changed regarding preferred work arrangements since the onset of the pandemic. Seven in 10 candidates (69%) find working remotely more desirable than at an office or other onsite location; six in 10 (60%) find permanent jobs more desirable than other types of employment arrangements; four in 10 (44%) prefer work as an independent contractor (working for themselves); and nearly a third (32%) are more open to working as a temporary employee through a staffing agency.

Candidates also say that looking for a job is more stressful than planning a wedding (66%), public speaking (65%), the birth of a child (59%), health concerns from Covid-19 (29%), the death of a loved one (25%), and financial concerns related to Covid-19 (24%).

The 2020 Candidate Sentiment Study also sheds light on candidates’ perceptions regarding how they look for jobs (online vs. offline resources), the reasons why they decide to leave a job, and their experiences partnering with staffing agencies―with distinct differences reported among generations, industry sectors, races/ethnicities, and genders.

“To navigate the new world of work spurred by Covid-19, employers must be more attune to job candidate perceptions, needs, and priorities to effectively and strategically recruit and retain them,” said Cynthia Davidson, ASA senior director of research. “The 2020 Candidate Sentiment Study contains a wealth of data and unique insights into the minds of prospective talent.”

A report of the survey findings is available for purchase, with a discount for ASA members. Learn more at americanstaffing.net/candidate-sentiment-study.


The 2020 Candidate Sentiment Study surveyed 711 potential job candidates, weighted to reflect the U.S. adult workforce. The sample was obtained through an independent, third-party online panel and was weighted to be representative of staffing agency utilization and temporary help assignments. The survey fielded May 12 – 21, 2020. Overall margin of error is +/-3.7%. Margin of error for reporting segments differs and is generally higher.


About the American Staffing Association

The American Staffing Association is the voice of the U.S. staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions industry. ASA and its state affiliates advance the interests of the industry across all sectors through advocacy, research, education, and the promotion of high standards of legal, ethical, and professional practices. For more information about ASA, visit americanstaffing.net.

About ClearlyRated

Rooted in satisfaction research for professional service firms, ClearlyRated utilizes a Net Promoter Score® survey program to help professional service firms measure their service experience, build online reputation, and differentiate on service quality. Learn more at clearlyrated.com/solutions.

Related Articles
ASA 2023 Staffing Operations Benchmarks Survey

ASA Workforce MonitorMore than three-quarters of employed U.S. adults (79%) are satisfied with their employers’ pandemic-related return-to-work plans. Download the infographic »

Stay Up-to-Date

Get the latest Covid-19 info & resources for staffing companies.

Follow ASA on the web