Survey: Will employees be required to get the COVID-19 vaccination?

image of an employee holds a vial of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine

The vast majority of employers require their employees to be vaccinated. Image: REUTERS/ POOL NEW

Emma Charlton
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This article is part of: The Jobs Reset Summit
  • Forty percent of companies surveyed in a new report require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Employees will be encouraged but not required to get a jab by 32% of companies.
  • Mental health concerns and burn-out have risen up the agenda since the onset of the pandemic.

Almost nine in every 10 companies will require or encourage their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination or face consequences, according to a new report.

All employees are required to be vaccinated by 40% of companies surveyed in a report from Arizona State University (ASU), the World Economic Forum and the Rockefeller Foundation. Employees will be encouraged but not required by 32% and 16% will require some, but not all, employees to have the jab.

While vaccination programmes are well underway in many of the world’s wealthiest countries, other regions lag far behind, with India and Latin America in the crosshairs. The ASU report assessed responses from 24 industry sectors and 1,339 facilities at 1,168 companies. Most came from companies in the US and UK, which are among the most advanced in terms of vaccination plans.

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statistics showing companies' policies for employees regarding COVID-19 vaccination
88% of employers will require of encourage vaccinations from employees. Image: Arizona State University

People who choose not to comply with their company’s policies are likely to face consequences, including having their work responsibilities changed, disciplinary action or being excluded from the physical work environment, the data showed.


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Companies’ “responses indicate that vaccination is perceived as significantly important for keeping the workplace and their employees safe,” the authors of the report, Nathaniel L Wade and Mara G Aspinall from Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions, wrote.

a diagram showing the consequences of lack of vaccine compliancy
44% of people will not be allowed to return to the physical work environment without vaccine compliance Image: Arizona State University

Nearly 60% plan to incentivize employees to be vaccinated, 84% would allow vaccinations to be administered to employees at their facility and 60% will require employees to demonstrate proof of vaccination.

Future workplace

Vaccination will play a key role in what the future of work looks like.

Employees are facing a ‘double-disruption’ scenario, according to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, as automation and the COVID-19 pandemic redefine work.

“In addition to the current disruption from the pandemic-induced lockdowns and economic contraction, technological adoption by companies will transform tasks, jobs and skills by 2025,” the report says. “By 2025, the time spent on current tasks at work by humans and machines will be equal.”

The ASU report shows companies are still dealing with the fall-out from the pandemic.

Companies said 57% of their employees are still remote and are likely to remain so for much of the year. But the report indicated most employers want people to come together to work, at least some of the time. More than two-thirds of employers believe that employees should be in the office at least 20 hours per week, citing their top reason as social connections among colleagues, the report said.

statistics showing the reasons why companies think employees should be in the office at least 20 hours a week
The most popular reason why companies think employees should be in the office at least 20 hours a week is social contact. Image: Arizona State University

Mental health was also a key feature of the report, with 50% of employers saying they’ve seen an uptick in the use of resources relating to this area.

charts showing how employee wellbeing changed during the pandemic compared to pre-pandemic
Many companies introduced more mental health measures to help employees through the struggles of the pandemic. Image: Arizona State University

Employee mental health is now a top priority for more than 75% of those surveyed, the report showed. Even so, engagement and morale had increased.


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“The bottom line for us is that so many are working so hard to keep it all together – to balance work, family, friends and even some fun,” the report authors wrote. “For the most part, it has worked, but we are not sure how much longer that balancing act can last.”

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Related topics:
COVID-19Future of WorkFuture of WorkDavos Agenda
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