Psychological Resilience Before and After Work Resumption during COVID-19 Episode #5: Accelerating the Recovery

This survey was led by Dr. Zhang XiaomengAssociate Professor of Organizational Behavior, Associate Dean for Executive Education and Co-Director of the Leadership and Motivation Research Centre at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB).

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to press pause on the Chinese economy, with companies now facing challenges on the issues of production and employment resumption. Now more than ever, it is vital that we work together to recover from losses while remaining vigilant to ongoing risks. Individual psychological resilience has a strong bearing on corporate resilience and the time it takes for the Chinese economy to bounce back. Whilst it goes without saying that a strong rebound is essential, the issue now is how to resume production and employment whilst ensuring risk is kept at bay.

This is part five of the survey series, examining factors affecting stress and how low levels of loyalty should be closely followed.


Overall conclusions

There are wide disparities between respondents with high and low resilience in terms of distribution and resilience-related factors. We indexed the most important indicators such as gender, seniority and industry to generate a “recovery index”. We conducted a multi-dimensional comparative analysis of more than 9,000 valid responses to which we hope will help inspire individuals and organizations to develop targeted psychological resilience measures and accelerate recovery.

1. More men than women are highly resilient; more women than men have lower levels of resilience. As age, seniority and working years increase, resilience tends to be higher.

2. Small companies’ staff are less resilient. Those with fewer than 100 employees and an annual revenue of less than RMB 10 million have the smallest proportion of highly resilient staff and the highest proportion of staff with low levels of resilience.

3. The three sectors with most resilient staff are: energy/mining/environment (24.68%), real estate (21.71%), and services (21.66%).

4. As for layoffs and pay cuts, the largest proportion of highly resilient respondents are those who felt confident they would keep their jobs, or even receive a pay rise. At the same time, among respondents who felt they had an 80% or more chance of losing their job, or having a 50% or more pay cut due to the epidemic, many still remained resilient.

5. With greater engagement in sports and conversing with family and friends, came higher resilience levels among respondents.

6. The recovery index (indicating the difference between positive and negative indicators affecting psychological condition, see below for details) of the overall sample is 49.95. The recovery index of people with high resilience (65.41) is significantly higher than that of people with low resilience (21.65).

7. From the perspective of gender and seniority, the highest scores in the recovery index are found among male and female company leaders (54.94 and 54.29 respectively) while the lowest scores are among female junior managers and employees (46.60 and 46.87 respectively). The recovery index shows an upward trend as the rank of the respondents increased. Female respondents scored slightly lower in terms of the recovery index than male respondents of the same seniority level.

8. From an industry perspective, the three industries with the highest recovery index scores are: agriculture/forestry/farming/fishing (53.36), real estate (51.61), and production/manufacturing/outsourcing (51.26). The three with the lowest recovery index scores are: business services (47.28), transportation/shipping/logistics/warehousing (46.78), and education/training (45.60).

9. Regarding “top wish after the epidemic”, 4,662 valid answers were compiled, categorized and analyzed. The two largest categories chosen are outdoor activities and travel (1,178 responses, or 25.27%) and work (960 responses, or 20.59%).

10. Regarding “biggest take-ways and areas of growth” of the 4,446 valid answers received, the two categories with most answers are cherishing life and health (962 answers, or 21.62%) and spending time with the family (643 answers, or 14.45%)


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