- An Insider and SurveyMonkey survey shows that the virus is holding back Americans looking for work.
- About 25% said concerns about getting COVID-19 was contributing to challenges in looking for work.
- Some companies have pushed back reopening plans because of the coronavirus and Delta variant.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
Job searching on its own can be a long and exhausting process. Factor in health concerns about the pandemic and the Delta variant, and the job search can become even more frustrating.
That's according to a recent survey conducted by Insider and SurveyMonkey. The survey asked respondents of varying employment status – employed but looking for a new job, unemployed and looking for work, and unemployed and not looking for work – what is making their job search more difficult right now.
Not everyone has the chance to work from home. Food service and hotel jobs are two examples where many roles have to be done in person. Workers seem to be quitting or leaving behind roles in those industries over COVID-19 fears, low wages, and lack of benefits. The increased health risks of those roles, alongside their historically low pay, may turn off workers and job seekers worried about putting their own health at risk as the pandemic continues.
About a quarter of respondents said worries about getting COVID-19 are contributing to challenges in looking for work
Respondents were asked, "Which of the following reasons, if any, have contributed to difficulties in looking for a job right now?" The biggest factors seem to be coronavirus and the Delta variant. Respondents could select multiple answers.
These health concerns are also seen when looking at the results by gender
Almost 30% of female respondents said concerns about COVID-19 and Delta are making searching for a job difficult. Although 24.5% of male respondents responded they were concerned about getting COVID-19, 24.5% of male respondents responded "compensation at available roles wasn't adequate" as contributing to difficulties in looking for work.
Out-of-work Americans are also facing pandemic fears
As seen in the following chart, coronavirus and the Delta variant are making it hard to look for work right now for those not working but looking for a job, more so than childcare-related reasons or due to a lack of available jobs. In this same group, about 34% said jobs available that don't fit their skills have contributed to difficulties in looking for a job.
Not only are Americans feeling burned out during the pandemic, but burnout is also affecting some already-employed workers' job search. For those who hold a job right now but are looking for a new one, 39% said feeling burned out "have contributed to difficulties in looking for a job right now."
Some of that difficulty could come from a pandemic-driven mismatch between open roles and the roles that job seekers want. Some industries have recovered faster than others, with leisure and hospitality consistently leading the way in adding jobs (except for Delta-stricken August). But those are primarily in-person and low-wage roles, and may face the same concerns over pandemic exposure.
At the same time, even those roles may be drying up somewhat, with the Delta variant essentially flattening hiring for restaurants, hotels, and retail in August.
Companies are pushing back return to office plans as a result of coronavirus and the Delta variant. Although some employers aimed to welcome workers back by September, some are now pushing back reopenings to next year. Others, like LinkedIn and Microsoft, have abandoned the idea of a firm return to office altogether. Instead, flexibility has had to become the name of the game.
SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn't try to weight its sample based on race or income. Polling data collected 1,105 respondents August 16-17, 2021 with a 3 percentage point margin of error.