The COVID-19 pandemic opened workers’ eyes to the importance of workplace flexibility.

3 minute read

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home was little more than a fantasy for most Americans. When states and cities locked down to protect employees during the pandemic, however, working remotely became the norm for many employees who could perform their jobs from home.

Even though COVID-19 infection rates are down and more people are fully vaccinated, plenty of workers still want jobs where they can work from home or enjoy flexible work hours, according to Bankrate’s February 2022 Job Seeker Survey.

Flexible or remote work and higher pay top the list of factors more important to job seekers now than before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Bankrate survey. But those aren’t the only employment factors on the minds of American workers, especially those looking for a new job.

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Flexible or remote working hours more important than ever

More than half (55 percent) of those surveyed by Bankrate and YouGov Plc say flexible working hours and/or working remotely are more important to them now than before the pandemic. According to the survey, younger workers were the most likely to cite working from home and/or flexible work hours as a top priority when weighing job opportunities.

According to the survey, other factors more important to job seekers now than before the COVID-19 outbreak include:

  • Higher pay (52 percent)
  • Job security (34 percent)
  • More vacation days/time off (29 percent)
  • More fulfilling/rewarding work (28 percent)
  • Better work culture (17 percent)

Only 14 percent of survey respondents say that “none of these” factors are more important to them now than before the pandemic.

Find out: Nearly Two Years Into The Pandemic: Office Workers are Still Concerned With COVID Safety Precautions

Compensation is the top workplace priority

When it comes to workplace priorities overall, 52 percent of those surveyed place “higher pay” at the top of the list. Around 43 percent cited flexible work hours as a key factor in their employment choices, with the option to work remotely (35 percent) following close behind.

Find out: Survey Shows Americans Are Looking for Pandemic-Proof Employment

More women prioritize workplace flexibility

Nearly half (47 percent) of women surveyed say they’re more likely to make flexible work hours a priority. Only 39 percent of men surveyed say they prioritize work schedule flexibility.

Around 37 percent of women surveyed say they’d like to work fully remotely. On the other hand, only 31 percent of men surveyed want to be able to work from home/remotely.

Find out: 9 Money Management Tips to Pencil in While Working From Home

More than half likely to look for a new job

The Bankrate February 2022 Job Seeker Survey found that while some workers plan to leave their jobs, others are holding out for their employers to better accommodate their needs. Of those surveyed about job activity since February 2021, with the ability to select multiple answers”

  • 12 percent quit their jobs
  • 21 percent took a new job
  • 20 percent asked for flexible hours or the option to work remotely
  • 15 percent asked for a raise

Find out: 4 Steps to Take Before Rage-Quitting a Job

Many suspect they’re underpaid

A majority (55 percent) of the Bankrate survey respondents feel they may earn less than peers who possess equal work experience and/or qualifications. About 35 percent say being underpaid isn’t a concern, and 11 percent “don’t know.”

The percentage of respondents concerned about being underpaid varied by generation:

  • Baby Boomers (ages 58 to 76): 62 percent
  • Millennials (ages 26 to 41): 57 percent
  • Gen Xers (ages 42 to 57): 54 percent
  • Gen Zers (ages 18 to 25): 45 percent

A separate Bankrate survey from 2021 found that half of respondents hadn’t received a raise or promotion within the past year. The same survey found that Hispanic workers were the least likely (19 percent) to receive a raise compared to 30 percent of white workers and 31 percent of black employees.

Find out: How to Spot Fake Job Listings Posted By Cybercriminals

Job security remains important

According to the Bankrate survey, more than one-third (36 percent) of respondents earning less than $40,0000 a year cite job security as a top priority. Of those earning between $40,000 to $79,999 annually, 32 percent say job security is a top employment factor, followed by 31 percent of survey respondents with incomes of more than $80,000 a year.

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

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