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Candidates Are Open to Opportunities in 2021

There are high hopes for 2021, even in the grip of the global pandemic and social unrest in the U.S. One solid fact is that we are collectively ready to get folks back to work to help stabilize and buoy our economy. And job candidates are ready to seize new opportunities despite, or maybe in light of, economic uncertainty and related worries.

To help your company plan for a successful 2021 and beyond in the current environment, ASA commissioned ClearlyRated (a third-party research firm) to conduct a survey gathering potential employee perceptions and experiences in order to gain a better understanding of how staffing agencies can navigate the new employment realities of the coronavirus pandemic.

While a slight majority of potential job candidates (57%) are satisfied with their current employment situation and seven in 10 (70%) are optimistic about the future of their careers, eight in 10 active and passive job seekers (or candidates) foresee working for a new company in the next year—despite, or possibly due to, the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., according to the ASA Candidate Sentiment Study.

We’ve all felt the sting of Covid-19 in so many ways. Relative to work arrangements, perceptions have definitely changed since the onset of the pandemic. Economic concerns have heightened fears and amplify a need for security, which individuals find in different ways. Specifically…

  • Seven in 10 candidates find working remotely more desirable than at an office or other on-site location.
  • Six in 10 find permanent jobs more desirable than other types of employment arrangements.
  • Four in 10 prefer work as an independent contractor (working for themselves).
  • Nearly a third are more open to working as a temporary employee through a staffing agency

Trying to bolster a feeling of security and lessen pandemic-induced economic fears is promoting optimism but is also quite taxing and worrisome. Candidates 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 ASA 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,” says Cynthia Davidson, ASA senior director of research. “The ASA Candidate Sentiment Study contains a wealth of data and unique insights into the minds of prospective talent.”

Visit for a report outline and link to the ASA online store for your copy of the full report, or one of the two mini reports.

ASA members always are welcome to contact the research team at 703-253-2020 or with questions about these statistics or other ASA research.

Cynthia Davidson is senior director of research for ASA. Send feedback on this article to Engage with ASA on social media—go to

<span class="publication-name"><em><em>Staffing Success Magazine</em></em></span> <span class="publication-separator">-</span> <span class="publication-issue">January–February 2021</span>
Originally Published In

Staffing Success Magazine - January–February 2021

Partnering with a staffing company gave Linda Cardenas the opportunity she needed to launch a rewarding career as a nurse, learn all she could on various assignments, and raise her hand at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when clients and patients needed her most.
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