Manpower Group: Remote work, flexible hours and more opportunities to learn new skills will be lasting pandemic legacy for many

MILWAUKEE, Sept. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The impact of the COVID-19 health, economic and social crisis continues to weigh heavily on the global labor market yet early signs of recovery are beginning to emerge according to the latest ManpowerGroup (NYSE: MAN) Employment Outlook Survey of over 38,000 employers in 43 countries conducted in July 2020.

Key findings:

  • Hiring intentions improve since last quarter in 37 of 43 countries though 41 decline year-over-year. Taiwan, the U.S., Turkey and Japan report the strongest Outlooks while Panama, Costa Rica, South Africa and Colombia report the weakest.
  • Employers believe labor market recovery will take longer than first anticipated: When asked in April 54% expected a return before April 2021, now down to 31%. 13% believe hiring will not return until after July 2021 and 18% believe there will be no return to normal (vs.13% when asked in April)
  • Not all furloughed workers will return to work: 60% of employers say they will bring furloughed workers back full time, 19% will have reduced hours, 9% will not bring all workers back and 12% are not yet decided
  • Over half (59%) of employers globally are planning to offer flexible work options for the long-term: Employers in Greece, Singapore, Belgium, the Netherlands and Australia are leading the way in offering hybrid styles of remote working some of the time, while China, the U.S., Poland, Hong Kong and India are offering the least flexibility to their workforces.

View complete Q4 2020 survey results:  

“These results reveal that employers now expect the recovery to take longer than they first anticipated and are preparing to go back to the future of work not the past,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup Chairman & CEO.  “On one hand the lasting legacy of the pandemic will be new work models with more flexible work, more focus on health and wellbeing, and more skills development. On the other – a two speed recovery with some industries including Manufacturing, Professional Services and Construction beginning to bounce back while others like Hospitality and Travel are impacted for the long term. Though the full impact of various job-retention schemes introduced to support workers remains to be seen, we can be certain that helping people adapt from declining industries to growth roles will be critical. It is the responsibility of business, government and educators to support people with swift, targeted upskilling programs so that value creation is shared with the many, not just the few.”

The report reveals that some employers plan to return furloughed workers full-time (60%), others with reduced hours (19%), while still others are undecided (9%) and 12% plan permanent layoffs.  Employers in China, France, Poland and Portugal are most optimistic about bringing back all furloughed workers while India, Singapore, Mexico and Hong Kong the least.

Over a third (39%) of employers globally plan to offer remote work and flexible hours in the post-pandemic workplace, with one fifth (20%) planning to offer 100% remote work to employees.  Employers intend to offer more opportunities for their employees to learn and develop new skills (31%) alongside more health and wellbeing benefits (30%) as the demands of workers shift with many hoping to leverage a hybrid-working model that better blends work and home.

Global Hiring Plans by Region


  • Employers in the U.S. report the most optimistic hiring plans with a Net Employment Outlook of +14%, increasing by 11 percentage points from the cautious Outlook of +3% reported in Q3. Strongest hiring plans are reported by employers in the Leisure & Hospitality sector (+22%) and the Transportation & Utilities sector (+19%).
  • In Mexico, employers report a Net Employment Outlook of +1%, a 10-percentage point increase quarter-over-quarter though declining by 8 percentage points year-over-year.
  • Brazilian employers report improved though still negative hiring prospects for the next three months with a Net Employment Outlook of -3%, an increase of 11 percentage points when compared with the previous quarter.


  • The most optimistic Outlooks are reported in Turkey (+10%) Greece (+8%) and Poland (+5%) while the weakest are expected in South Africa (-13%) the U.K. (-8%) and Croatia (-6%).
  • U.K. employers anticipate a weak yet improved hiring pace in the next three months, reporting a Net Employment Outlook of -8%. Hiring intentions increase 4 percentage from previous quarter.
  • Employers in France report a Net Employment Outlook of +3%. The Restaurants & Hotels sector anticipates the weakest hiring pace with an Outlook of -6%, improving by a steep margin of 47 percentage points quarter-over-quarter but declining by 19 percentage points year-over-year.


  • Employers in Taiwan report the strongest outlooks, while the weakest and only negative outlook globally is expected in Hong Kong.
  • Employers in China report modest hiring intentions for the October to December time frame with a Net Employment Outlook of +4%, remaining relatively stable quarter-over-quarter (+3% in Q3) and unchanged when compared with this time one year ago. 

To view complete results for the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, visit: The next survey will be released December 8, 2020 and will report hiring expectations for Q1 2021. To receive the latest survey results each quarter, sign up here. 

*The Net Employment Outlook is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity.