What a time it’s been of late. For some this lockdown period has been more challenging than others, for some it’s been a great opportunity to step off that hamster wheel of life and relax, take stock, reassess & improve. For others the need to cease trading has caused heartache and real difficulties. No matter how it was for us, coming out of lockdown and returning to what will now be our ‘new normal’ will take some getting used to for all of us.
It has certainly had, and will continue to have its impact on business. The new normal will be different, I’m fully expecting to see a totally different business landscape now, from co-located workforces now, teams spending a lot of time working from home with just some days in the office, to some working permanently at home, and being part of regular team video calls to keep in touch.
I’m expecting that companies may feel a little hesitant to recruit staff on a permanent basis for a short period, and are more likely to bring in temporary or fixed term contract workers, or may instead unfortunately feel that they need to let people go. As understandable as making redundancies is, at a time of real need, purely as a last resort, it seems that businesses will need to beware of ‘over pruning’. It is predicted that numerous larger companies may downsize excessively, which in turn could create a significant surge in demand for talent once business recovers.
All of these factors point to what is going to be a major change in the employment market now in 2020 and beyond (it is odd that I hear those last 2 words in a Buzz Lightyear voice now? Too much Disney watching downtime with my daughter!), to my mind furthered by a number of factors.
From numerous conversations since lockdown began with job seekers and businesses, it seems that the lockdown period has given a lot of people down time to reassess what’s important to them in life – in much the same way people often do during summer hols and at Christmas time. A sort of epiphany – And we’re seeing people who now wish to change their jobs completely, they want to retrain and change track altogether. They are looking for a completely new path, I’m going to call this a ‘track change’. This will create an oddly slow ripple effect, as people will make their move at vastly different stages, according to when they reach either this realisation that they want to move on, or undertake and complete any relevant training to facilitate this, or when the move is financially viable for them.
I think we will also see a lot of employees who are not keen to return to their current employer due to the way they were treated during lockdown. Some employees talk of great communications with their employer keeping them in the loop as to what’s going on, checking in with them to check they are ok, sending out little gifts or care packages even! Other have had a very different experience altogether which seems to have left many, a silent many people disgruntled about their employer, disengaged and now flicking through job ads as a result.
And then there are those who may be close to retirement, and may have had a taste of what is to come and would like to start that new lifestyle sooner than planned. They are realising that this works for them, they quite like this, and in some cases are chatting to their employers just to let them know that they might just not want to come back!
And as the contracting market has had quite a shake up, we may well see people who typically only wish to carry out high value contracting work looking for jobs they might not overwise have gone for, due to the lack of contracting work just now. Again, this will have quite an effect on numerous recruitment processes, if a percentage of applicants across the whole jobs market are people who don’t actually want the job they are applying for! Mayhem!
Overall, with the track changing as a result of the epiphanies, those feeling disgruntled with their employers, the pre-retirees and the contractors all in the mix, this is going to make it a difficult time to identify talent, true talent that has the experience and skill set mix that your business needs, but also those who have their heart set on moving into the job you have to offer and are not in the job applications process for the wrong reasons.
The hunt for talent is going to become more difficult, that’s for sure! The needle in the haystack effect will be with us for some time. Never has it been more important to have a solid, robust process in place when you need to recruit, and to understand the potential new pitfalls. It is key to make sure that you have someone who can advise and ask you challenging questions, to help determine whether you need someone temporary, permanent or on a fixed term contract, to help you pin point exactly what skills and what type of person/people you need to bring in to your business, someone with expertise who is happy to share the thinking with you on your recruitment plan.
A relationship with a recruiter that you know, that you trust and that you know you can depend on to get the right result every time you need them is going to be vital as we all take every positive step that we can to rebuild our economy.
Written by Elaine Courtney, Director of Courtney Recruitment.