Hiring trends during COVID-19 uncertainty

updates + insights » Hiring trends during COVID-19 uncertainty

Latest insights on the hiring market and recruitment as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Hiring rates
Hiring data from online professional networking site LinkedIn shows positive signs of recovery with hiring rates stabilizing globally as countries gradually ease travel/social distancing restrictions. In particular, China’s prevention and control strategy and resulting decline in the spread of the virus are having a positive impact on employment with their hiring rate gradually climbing and levelling out to 2019 levels.

Sector reduction
Key sectors directly impacted by declining revenue and an immediate reduction in staff numbers include tourism, construction, and leisure. Businesses are resizing at a rapid rate with reported job losses of such magnitude that no one would have predicted, including for example 4,000 staff at Air New Zealand, 1,000 at Fletchers, and numbers around 900+ at Millennium and Copthorne Hotels and Skycity. While there are some positive signs in terms of planned Government infrastructure projects, a potential reduction in border restrictions and efforts to encourage New Zealanders to support local and look to “staycations”, the situation continues to be fluid with long term recovery not expected until 2022.

Best performing sectors/roles
Despite the uncertainty, there are sectors and roles that continue to experience growth. For those sectors least affected by recent market conditions - the likes of finance, software/IT, and healthcare - there are still some challenges ahead particularly around sourcing labour. This includes highly technical/specialised roles that typically require a global search approach through to accessing much needed migrant workforces – businesses will need to adapt their recruitment approach to maintain their talent pipelines.

More specifically, we are seeing demand continuing for specialist roles including engineering, cyber security, IT architect, and software development.    

Challenges ahead for the talent market
What we are seeing as recruiters is a shift in the balance between active and passive job seekers. There is an increase in active job seekers as those directly impacted by COVID-19 have unexpectantly entered the job market. However passive candidates, people not actively searching for a new role who are typically a valuable source of candidates with specialised skills, are averse to making any change given the current situation. For those talent scarce sectors/roles mentioned above, finding qualified candidates will continue to be a challenge.

Having more active job seekers in the market, particularly experienced senior leaders who are motivated to find that next opportunity, can provide a temptation for employers to place “overqualified” candidates in roles. Understanding the motivations and intentions of candidates is something that needs to be candidly discussed during the recruitment process. If there is any concern about a candidate looking at a role as a temporary measure, you need to balance that against the cost of finding a new employee which includes recruitment and onboarding through to  the disruption to your business and team.

If you are looking for additional information, insights, and practical advice on hiring implications reach out to your Decipher Group consultant. We would love to hear from you.

The Decipher Team     

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