HRE’s Number of the Day: employment changes

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51%: Percentage of surveyed Americans ages 18-34 who have experienced employment changes during the pandemic

Job changes–through layoffs, furloughs, reduced hours and other means–have been an unfortunate side effect of the coronavirus pandemic. And they seem to be hitting some demographics harder than others.

That’s according to a new report from ResumeBuilder. In a survey conducted in partnership with YouGov of more than 3,700 Americans, the company found that more than 51% of those age 18-34 have experienced some type of employment change because of the pandemic; that’s compared to about 35% of workers age 35-54 and 17% of those over 55.

See also: Coalition seeks to lift low-income workers out of the economic crisis

Drilling down into the numbers, ResumeBuilder reported that nearly one-quarter of younger professionals had their hours reduced, 12% had been laid off, 11% furloughed and 5% voluntarily quit. All four categories of employment changes were higher among younger professionals than the other age groups.

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Accordingly, those under 34 are about twice as likely as employees over 55 to be looking for a new job–32% versus 16%.

The survey also revealed other disparities, such as Hispanic respondents being nearly twice as likely as white participants to have experienced a layoff: 11% compared to 6%. Overall, nearly 48% of Hispanic individuals saw employment changes in the last few months, compared to 37% of Black respondents and 27% of whites.

What it means for HR leaders

ResumeBuilder Director of Marketing Donnie Dinh notes that the widespread employment changes are prompting many Americans, particularly those in disproportionately impacted demographic groups, to consider career shifts.

For instance, more than one-quarter of survey participants are considering moving outside of their current or most recent industry, numbers that again skew higher for younger professionals: About 32% of those 18-34 are open to a career shift, compared to 25% of the 35-54-year-old group and 19% of workers 55 and over.

Survey participants are also recognizing the value of upskilling in the current market: More than one-quarter are learning new skills to make their job profile more attractive to future employers.

“With the unemployment rate going from 3.5% to over 13%, American workers are forced to pivot in this unstable job market,” Dinh says.

Related: American workers are worried. Why that’s a problem for HR

Jen Colletta
Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at