The COVID Effect: How the Job Market Has Changed and What It Means for Your Business
You’ve probably seen the numbers. In April alone the American economy lost 20.5 million jobs. That’s the largest month-over-month increase in unemployment since 1948 following the end of World War II. While some industries have been especially impacted and forced to lay off employees (leisure and hospitality, entertainment and recreation, and retail, to name a few), others are in urgent need of workers as they shift business focus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What does the changing job market mean for companies and what can you do now to ensure your business is ready no matter what the future holds? We’re digging into the market changes, hiring trends during the pandemic, and building a strong talent pipeline that will prepare your business for the future.
How the Job Market Changed
While April’s economic numbers were abysmal – an unemployment rate in the double digits and economic devastation unseen since the Great Depression – things have started to look up. Data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for June showed an improvement in the unemployment rate, down to 11.1 percent. While many millions of people remain out of work, the shift suggested the economic damage from the coronavirus may be ebbing as states reopen and jobs start to come back.
Still, significant uncertainty remains. While a quick economic recovery might be possible once a vaccine is available and businesses can reopen and rehire employees, there are likely to be long-lasting impacts. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the nature of work in many industries has forever been altered. Some businesses discovered they need fewer employees, while others realized working from home was not only possible but beneficial for the bottom line. These new realities will all impact the job market and what work looks like post-pandemic.
Hiring Trends Amid COVID
Remember the recruitment challenges companies faced in 2019? Back then there was a lot of talk about the skills gap and the willingness of employers to hire and train workers with potential. There was also a greater focus on soft skills such as the ability to work well in a team, attention to detail, and customer service. With low unemployment rates, candidates could look at more than just salary when considering a job offer. This meant that companies had to think about not just compensation, but a range of job factors like benefits, location, company culture, job stability, and opportunities for growth and development.
Fast forward a year and you’ll find that a lot has changed. Candidates have lost their leverage, and many are just looking to land a job that pays the bills. Meanwhile, those who are still employed are much less likely to be considering a job switch. For new graduates, the employment situation seems especially bleak. The class of 2020 is entering the worst job market since the Great Depression with unemployment among this group at more than 25 percent. While hiring has begun to pick up in some industries, a lot of uncertainty remains.
Building Your Talent Pipeline
Is your business waiting for more positive economic signs before beginning to hire? That’s an understandable reaction to the ongoing economic crisis, but even if you aren’t actively hiring, there are things you can be doing to prepare. Build up your talent pipeline with these strategies so that when the economy begins to recover, you’re ready to get back to business.
1. Prioritize Diversity
A diverse team is a strong team, and the business case for diversity has never been clearer. That’s because diversity means a variety of experiences, knowledge, and perspectives that can all benefit your business. A recent McKinsey report on diversity and inclusion also found that companies with greater diversity are likely to emerge from the current crisis stronger. Not sure how to build a diverse talent pipeline? Start with AI job descriptions, which help build neutral job posting and improve language usage to attract a broad audience. It’s also important to set tangible goals when it comes to diversity. Be transparent with your employees and hold leadership accountable for making progress.
2. Continue with Branding Efforts
Pre-pandemic, when the economy was roaring along, employer branding was a key part of success in the job seeker’s market. But even if you’ve put hiring on pause, your employer branding efforts shouldn’t be. In fact, now is the perfect time to set yourself apart from the competition and showcase your culture and values. Start by taking some time to review your hiring and onboarding process for ways to improve and opportunities to highlight who your company is as an employer. Taking time to put all the pieces in place now will set you up to connect with candidates and new talent when you’re ready to hire.
3. Engage Your Team
Did you know that using your current employees can be a great way to build your talent pipeline and hire better? Your team knows better than anyone what working for your company is like and they can be great ambassadors for your business. They can also be helpful in the hiring process. When you’re ready to hire, consider which current employees should be brought into the conversation. Can they help with interviews or job screening? Known as collaborative hiring, this process can help you hire talent who are a great fit for your team and keep current employees engaged and involved in the success of the company. That’s what we call a win-win.
Getting ready to hire? We have the staffing solutions to fit your hiring needs. Reach out to learn how KORE1 can optimize your IT workforce.