As the business landscape resumes, older professionals appear keen on stepping out into the post-Covid-19 world while younger professionals are not rushing to embrace it, according to the findings of the sixth edition of the LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index.
Based on survey responses of 1,351 professionals in India, findings from the fortnight of June 1-14 reveal how India’s workforce feels about returning to work, and how professionals from different generations exhibit varied confidence levels towards returning to the physical workplace.
Findings reaffirm this difference in perception as 38 per cent of Gen X and 29 per cent of Baby Boomers said they will willingly return to the workplace as soon as they are allowed, whereas 1 in 3 Gen Z (29 per cent) and millennials (32 per cent) said they will continue working remotely until they feel safer about being around others.
One reason for this, as HR expert Abhijit Bhaduri states, “Younger workers are adept in using digital means of communication. Senior professionals may find it challenging to hire and manage performance of remote teams.” Hence, varied levels of digital prowess could be one of the reasons behind such contrasting outlooks from different generations.
While the nationwide lockdown is gradually being lifted, the stigma around COVID-19 prevails due to uncertainty around safety measures. Findings reveal that more than half (55 per cent) of Indian professionals think being exposed to people neglecting safety precautions is a key concern. 58 per cent of Millennials and 56 per cent of Gen X professionals are shown being concerned about the same problem.
Probing further, findings highlight that 42 per cent Millennials are concerned about commuting to work while nearly half (46 per cent) are worried about eating and sharing resting/collaborative spaces. The report also shows that inadequate space between workstations is cited as another primary concern with returning to work, as it could make it tough for professionals to practice healthy measures of social distancing.
This fortnight’s findings also gauge how Indian professionals feel about the short-term (6 months) and long-term (1 year) future of their companies. With regards to short-term employer confidence, survey findings show that 50 per cent of Corporate Services professionals, 46 per cent of Manufacturing professionals, and 41 per cent of Education professionals think their companies will be better off six months from now.
When it comes to long-term employer confidence, findings reveal that 64 per cent of Manufacturing, 60 per cent of Corporate Services, and 59 per cent of Software & IT professionals believe their companies will be better off one year from now. Based on these findings, it is observed that professionals from Corporate Services and the Manufacturing sectors have the strongest short-term and long-term company outlook, respectively.
This fortnight’s LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index shows that India’s overall confidence remains steady with a composite score of +48, as India gets ready to return work. The cautious optimism also reflects in the strong short-term and long-term employer confidence levels of professionals from sectors such as Corporate Services and Manufacturing.
India’s workforce is also beginning to feel more confident about their personal finances as 1 in 4 professionals in India expect their earned incomes (25 per cent) and personal spending (26 per cent) to increase in the next 6 months. In fact, about 1 in 3 professionals also expect their personal savings (31 per cent) and personal recurring debt payments (29 per cent) to increase in the next 6 months. This financial confidence comes at a time when India’s economy is gradually restarting.
Commenting on this rise in financial confidence, Leadership Coach Harsh Johari says, “Professionals will continue to be prudent about money management, given the prevailing uncertainties. While some businesses in the digital space are seeing growth, the actual financial impact on India Inc will only become clear when listed companies unveil their results for the quarter ending June 30.”
Working remotely for the past three months has encouraged businesses to adapt innovative and digital measures for business continuity. However, as India ‘unlocks’ and workplaces reboot, findings of the sixth Workforce Confidence Index underscore a pronounced difference in how the older and younger professionals feel about returning to the physical workplace.