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Research from Workday Finds European Workers Eager to Make Up For Lost Career Opportunities

Study Shows Concerns Around Career Development as Opportunities to Gain New Skills are Lost

LONDON, June 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Workday, Inc. (NASDAQ: WDAY), a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, today released the initial findings of its European Survey The Employee Outlook: Understanding Employee Sentiment and Priorities Across Europe” that reveals European workers are worried about the impact the pandemic is having on their careers. For some, the abrupt shift to home working means they have lost vital opportunities to gain new responsibilities and skills.

Workday partnered with Yonder Consulting (formerly Populus), a research and strategy consultancy, to conduct the quantitative study across Europe. Yonder surveyed more than 17,000 workers who were below director level and employed by organisations with more than 250 employees in nine European markets.

Key highlights of the survey include:

  • Employees remain positive about leadership through uncertain times, with leaders in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK viewed most favourably by employees

  • Almost half of employees (44%) in the UK, Spain, and Italy report they have missed opportunities to gain new responsibilities and skills

  • Just over a quarter of employees (26%) believe they have lost opportunities to develop their career, including 47% of 18-34 year-olds who are concerned about the impact the pandemic has had on their workplace opportunities

The research also revealed 25% of employees will look to change jobs in the next twelve months, hoping to find better career development, a more interesting role, and improved salary. Only 12% say their desire to change jobs has been driven by their employer’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, however.

Despite pandemic pressures, 30% of employees still believe they will receive a pay rise in the next year, though those from Spain and Italy are least hopeful with only 23% and 18% respectively believing they will be in line for a salary increase. This compares to Sweden where over half of respondents (52%) believe their salary will increase. A competitive salary is the most motivating factor when searching for a new role across all markets, with 54% saying they would not be willing to reduce their salary for more flexible working conditions.

Workday is helping HR leaders across the world to navigate the return to the workplace and lead in this dynamic environment. This includes the ability to evaluate the readiness of the workforce and workplace for reopening based on employee sentiment and eligibility. In addition, organisations can use Workday to personalise the employee experience and provide career development suggestions for every employee, based on knowledge of a worker’s skills and career interests, as well as the skills that are critical to the organisation.

Employees Positive About Leaders

To benchmark employees’ perceptions of the overall performance of their current leaders, the research team conducted a factor analysis. Using the collected data from 13 agreement statements, they were able to unite these different attributes into one metric - The Leadership Index Score. This score acts as a measure of how an employee feels towards the performance of the leadership team within the organisation they currently work for. A score below 100 means that leaders in particular markets are performing below average and a score above 100 means that those leaders are performing above average.

The Leadership Index Score showed leaders in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and the UK were viewed most favourably by employees.


The Leadership Index Score



















In countries where leadership performance was above average (Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, UK) employees were more likely to understand the role they will play in the future of the organisation (65%, 64%, 63% and 62% respectively). Leaders in the UK and the Netherlands were rated the most empathetic by their employees (64% and 65% respectively), while leaders in the Netherlands (55%), Switzerland (54%) and Germany (53%) were considered the best at managing change.

Confidence in Leadership

Around half of leaders are perceived to have managed 2020 well by prioritising employee health and safety (59%) and showing empathy (55%). Almost half of employees (49%) believe their company’s leadership has dealt with change well.

Most employees feel communication from leaders has stayed the same or increased during 2020, particularly those working in the UK (85%) and Italy (88%).

The research paints a largely positive picture of how organisations across Europe have adjusted to the dramatic shift in working patterns necessitated by the pandemic. Despite nearly half of employees (46%) reporting they rarely, if ever, worked from home before 2020, over half claim to be less stressed (53%) and more productive (56%) working from home in 2020.


Almost half of employees have found it challenging to motivate themselves recently. This seems to be driven by factors including:

  • Lack of contact and interaction with colleagues (27%)

  • People missing colleagues (21%)

  • The pandemic making work seem less important (23%)

Those living in the Netherlands are most likely to feel satisfied, productive, and motivated. They also report lower levels of tiredness, along with their German counterparts.

Tools and Training

Although 84% of employees report they can access the information they need and 67% believe they have been provided with enough support while working from home, 66% were given no training in how to work from home effectively.

Comment on the News

“While it’s reassuring to see that many business leaders have successfully managed through the unforeseen changes of the pandemic, the real impact will be seen in the way that organisations support employees in the transition to some form of normality as we emerge from lockdown,” said Carolyn Horne, president, EMEA, Workday. “Critically, this should include support for employee development through skills training and the creation of new opportunities, such as virtual learning and internal mobility, which will not only contribute to an organisation’s continued success, but support employee wellbeing.”

Additional Information

Between the 28th October – 18th November 2020 Yonder conducted an online survey with 17,054 employees who were below Director level and worked at an organisation with 250+ employees in nine European markets. The nine countries were chosen as they represented a good geographic spread across Europe, captured the five biggest European economies and were all accessible using an online survey methodology. Yonder is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information is available at


The size of the online panels in each country was sufficient to allow a robust sample of employees working in organisations with 250+ employees. A sample size of 2,000 respondents in each market was the target for fieldwork as it provides a robust base from which to conduct analysis. The margin of error on a 2,000 sample size is +/- 2.2% at a 95% confidence level, which means that if the survey was conducted 100 times again, 95 times out of 100 it is expected that the results would alter by a maximum of +/- 2.2%. Reaching employees via an online methodology in Switzerland is more difficult as there are fewer people signed up to online panels. It was therefore agreed to compromise and use a smaller base size. A total of 1,004 respondents were achieved in Switzerland. It should be noted that the smaller base size of 1,004 in Switzerland creates a margin of error +/- 3.1% at a 95% confidence level.

About Workday
Workday is a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resource, helping customers adapt and thrive in a changing world. Workday applications for financial management, human resources, planning, spend management, and analytics have been adopted by thousands of organisations around the world and across industries—from medium-sized businesses to more than 45 percent of the Fortune 500. For more information about Workday, visit

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements including, among other things, statements regarding Workday’s plans, beliefs, and expectations. These forward-looking statements are based only on currently available information and our current beliefs, expectations, and assumptions. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are outside of our control. If the risks materialise, assumptions prove incorrect, or we experience unexpected changes in circumstances, actual results could differ materially from the results implied by these forward-looking statements, and therefore you should not rely on any forward-looking statements. Risks include, but are not limited to, risks described in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including our Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended April 30, 2021, and our future reports that we may file with the SEC from time to time, which could cause actual results to vary from expectations. Workday assumes no obligation to, and does not currently intend to, update any such forward-looking statements after the date of this release.

Any unreleased services, features, or functions referenced in this document, our website, or other press releases or public statements that are not currently available are subject to change at Workday’s discretion and may not be delivered as planned or at all. Customers who purchase Workday services should make their purchase decisions based upon services, features, and functions that are currently available.

Media Contact:
Kate Falcone