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Shelter in job? For 74% of the U.S., that cautious path feels right in 2021

By | George Anders | Senior editor at large, LinkedIn

It’s been nearly a year. How have we adjusted our goals, our on-the-job motivation —  and our overall sense of what work means to us — in a U.S. economy so profoundly reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic?

What emerges from the latest edition of LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index is a stark sense of the ways hunkered-down caution has taken hold. Ambition isn’t dead, but for people in steady jobs, it might be hibernating. Insights are drawn from a survey of 5,520 LinkedIn members from Jan 16 to Jan 29. 

When current job-holders were asked about their top motivations for staying in their current roles, 74% chose answers that amounted to some variant of “shelter in job.” At the top of the list, collecting a steady paycheck and keeping household finances stable was a key factor for 59%. 

Other versions of “shelter in job” include enjoying a company’s perks and benefits (30%), waiting out the pandemic for a more favorable job market (15%), and having no time or energy to focus on a job switch (14%). Respondents were allowed to make more than one choice.

Of course, motivation typically taps into a variety of factors. So the Workforce Confidence survey also examined six more upbeat or aspirational factors that can contribute to respondents’ outlooks related to their current job. In that category, the top choice was “truly enjoying the nature of one’s work,” at 47%.  

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