How the labour market has changed post-Coronavirus - and how your company can adapt


Labour Market After Corona

After a whirlwind start to 2020, we’re gradually settling into something resembling ‘normal’ life. The global pandemic sent shockwaves through the globe, and working life is unlikely to return to how it was. Whether the changes are for the better or worse, businesses have to adapt to the new conditions, tweaking their policies and way of operating to accommodate their employees in a safe and reassuring environment. Looking forward, there are a number of key ways in which the labour market has changed post-Coronavirus, and these changes look set to last. There’s no way of fully predicting the future, but businesses will benefit from remaining agile and taking a creative approach to problem solving. 

Is your company working on its post-Coronavirus hiring strategy? This article looks at how the job market has changed since the pandemic, and how your company can best adapt to these changes.  

There’s a shift to a client-driven market

As business conditions shift around the globe, the job market reflects these changes. Since the global pandemic, the threat of layoffs and businesses taking a cautious approach means that we’re seeing a client-driven market as opposed to a candidate-driven market. There are more candidates than there are jobs available, so companies looking to hire are met with a higher number of applicants than would ordinarily be the case.   

When there are more candidates than available jobs, companies are able to ask for more niche skills and certifications. At the moment, in The Netherlands, German is the most sought-after language in the expat market. In a candidate-driven market, companies might have to settle for a candidate who doesn’t meet every single job requirement, but in the current state of affairs, companies can ask that candidates meet very specific criteria according to what their vacancy requires. The downside attached to a client-driven market is that every job receives hundreds of applications, so recruiters must spend a huge deal of time sorting out which CVs are most relevant for the role.

The types of roles are changing

Recruitment operations are gradually starting again, with vacancies which were put on hold in March now back on the market. Even so, it will take a while - perhaps even another 6 months - before the job market looks like it did in February.  

At the moment, technical roles are in greater demand than they otherwise are. This means that companies are seeking candidates in the fields of engineering, IT, and production operation, amongst others. This is partly explained by the fact that production companies have not experienced as devastating losses as other industries during the Coronavirus pandemic. The hospitality, entertainment and tourism industries have borne the brunt of the negative side effects that have stemmed from the lockdown. Production, on the other hand, has emerged relatively unscathed from the crisis, and companies within the industry are still hiring for key roles.

The more typical office jobs like Human Resources, Marketing and Sales are less in demand at the moment, with some companies still under a hiring freeze. The companies who are hiring for these roles tend to decide to hire directly for the positions, without the assistance of an external HR firm. 

Employees’ priorities have shifted

One side effect of the global pandemic is that employees have had time and headspace to work out which aspects of their job they’d like to change. In March, most offices in Europe sent employees to work from home - something that once was seen as a privilege and something that senior managers were reluctant to allow. Concerns about reduced productivity and difficulty in keeping team morale alive have been largely proved unfounded, because for the past few months, we’ve had no choice.

According to Adams research, 85% of candidates now say they don’t want to go back to work in an office full-time, but rather would like the chance to work from home a couple of days a week. Before the global pandemic, it was easier for employers to deny this request, but moving forward, it’s likely to be at the very top of new employee demands. Companies are reviewing their working from home policies, but only time will tell actual changes are made.

We have never before encountered a time like the past six months, and the pause in normal life has allowed employees to take stock of their happiness and job satisfaction. This has led many to realise that actually, they’re unhappy in their current position, and are looking to change jobs. However, the crisis has sent us into unprecedented times full of anxiety for many, and while some people have decided they are not satisfied in their current jobs, they are not necessarily looking to move at the moment, because they are keen to retain the stability of their current employment.  

Adapting to a new workplace

There’s no one correct way to prepare for the new normal - as the past half year has proven, we can never be sure what the world will look like in the future. That being said, there are a number of actions that companies look to hire again can take to ready themselves for the coming months. Firstly, ensure consistent communication, whether that’s internally within your company, with external stakeholders, or with potential candidates. 

It’s also important to clarify new internal policies if your company has adapted the way it operates. A candidate might have a certain idea of your company culture based on pre-Coronavirus times, so if you now expect people to work from home 80% of the time, for example, this needs to be clearly communicated. Candidates may also have health concerns and will be looking for reassurance that your company is following recommended sanitation guidelines. It will be a while before work life returns to how it was before Coronavirus, and candidates are looking for support and guidance from potential employers during this time. For businesses in the process of recruiting, it’s a chance to step up and prove strong leadership, responsibility, and dedication to ensuring a strong company culture. 

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