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In the spring of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly changed the labor market. Many businesses that relied on onsite operations were forced to close temporarily and had to furlough or even lay off workers. Other companies that were able to operate virtually experienced an increased need for tech workers and managers with the skills to coordinate remote teams. This downturn is unlike any we’ve seen before. So how does it impact hiring?
Why it’s not an employer’s market
It’s important to understand that even though unemployment levels are high, according to Harvard Business Review, it’s not an employer’s market.
After the high unemployment levels of April, jobs are rebounding quickly, unlike with previous downturns, during which the unemployment rates remained high for several years. In addition, workers are trying to avoid jobs that might put them at risk of contracting COVID-19. As a result, many roles that require an onsite presence are going unfilled. Interestingly, these are often more senior roles. At the same time, people who have the resources are moving away from the areas with the highest employment needs. This geographic mismatch leads to fewer jobs being filled in the regions where businesses need talent, like metropolitan areas. On top of this, there’s actually been a significant increase in job openings during the pandemic.
All things considered, job openings are at unprecedented high levels. And with people literally basing their career moves on the risk of contracting COVID-19, it’s important for hiring managers to understand that it is a candidate’s market.
Takeaway for hiring managers
When it comes to talent acquisition, hiring managers need to take into account that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the various industries and regional labor markets differently. For example, a large grocery store that needs extra workers to help with sanitation or during a seasonal spike in business will likely have to offer a better salary and benefits package than it used to because of the risk of contracting the virus.
On the other hand, an accountant’s firm that can function entirely virtually will need an IT team that can coordinate and execute its digital transformation so that the financial team can work from home. In short, it’s important for companies to tailor their talent strategies to their individual situation instead of following a more general trend.
How a staffing agency can help
Fortunately, if you’re a hiring manager, you don’t have to go it alone. When you work with an experienced staffing agency that knows your industry and understands your local labor market, its recruiters will know where to find the talent you need.
The recruiters can help you determine new ways of coordinating your talent acquisition efforts and open up new avenues for connecting. They can also help you set up recruitment processes that are entirely remote—such as interviewing via Zoom or another teleconferencing app, assigning online skills tests, and leveraging tools such as DocuSign when offering a contract. And perhaps most importantly, they can help you put together job offers that comprise the salary, benefits, and perks candidates in your industry and region are looking for in the current unprecedented circumstances.