As the government begins to lift restrictions and more businesses start to open back up, many people will begin to rejoin the workforce after being laid off or quarantined. Others may continue to work remotely at least part-time.
With so much uncertainty, the post-pandemic job market is like one we’ve never seen. Social distancing, remote working, and questions about COVID-19 all factor into the mix for both employers and prospective employees.
So what can we expect from this extremely fluid and ever-changing labor market? In this Q&A with Shyft Careers Managing Partner Joel Radziewicz, we’ll answer the questions we’re hearing most often and provide some insight into the kinds of permanent changes we’ll likely see as the economy slowly reemerges from the worldwide shutdown.
Q: Many people want to know if things will go “back to normal” once the pandemic is behind us. What will the job market be like?
Joel: Things are always changing, and the post-COVID market is no different. Both employers and candidates need to start each conversation with the understanding that the hiring process or hiring need can change as quickly as the opportunity emerges.
From an employer’s perspective, there is no perfect candidate. I’ve talked to more employers who think there’s a plethora of candidate options out there now, and they’re being a little more choosey. Although applicants may not have as much control as before, employers certainly shouldn’t pass up on a good fit in the vein of looking at options.
The same goes for candidates or applicants. Understand that everyone on the employers’ side is working remotely and trying to adjust to a new way of hiring with virtual interviews or phone calls. The decision-making process may take longer than usual.
Q: Relying heavily on technology, such as Zoom and Slack, became the norm for remote working during the pandemic.
Will this trend to continue?
Joel: Work life may never be business as usual again. One agency owner we work with gave his employees the option to stay remote until September. Now that people have experienced working remotely, more people are going to want that option. Employers also benefit from a remote or semi-remote business model. Employers and employees will need to meet in the middle. For some, working remotely full time won’t be feasible, but choosing a few days a week to work from home may be a solution.
For those working in the service field, such as plumbers, electricians and home health aides, protocols may change. Contact-free payment methods, using apps like appointlet, and relying more heavily on texting or virtual meetings will most likely continue.
Q: People in the service industry, as well as customers, are wondering how to keep everyone safe. What do we know for now?
Joel: This pandemic may very well forever change how we live and work. Wearing face masks and gloves, practicing thorough hand washing, health screenings, and maintaining social distancing when appropriate will continue. As more information about COVID-19 emerges, best practices and guidelines from the federal government on down will adjust accordingly.
Q: How should people prepare to be marketable post-pandemic? Will they need to strengthen their skill sets?
Joel: Instead of specific skills like technology or networking, we recommend people highlight and give examples of how they’ve been flexibile, adaptable, and a team contributor to solving problems.
Many of the new remote companies are experiencing two extremes: employees who are highly productive and going the extra mile when working remotely, and others who see this as an opportunity to take a back seat. If you’re the former, make a point to highlight some examples during a conversation with a prospective employer and on your resume.
Q: Whether we continue to work remotely or semi-remotely, what is the job market going to be like in the next few months as people have been laid off or may decide to make a career switch?
Joel: It’s too hard to tell at this point. Some industries, like e-commerce, have been booming, while others, mostly tech, have slowed. Some employers see this as an opportunity to level up their talent and trim the fat around underperformers. So again, look for opportunities to be a contributor!
Q: From an employer’s perspective, what is the talent pool like? What are businesses looking for in employees?
Joel: Businesses are looking for options. The talent pool is flooded in certain industries. However, most applicants are being selective. It’s certainly not a shotgun approach right now, which is nice. Candidates should find a way to stand out, and employers should be realistic with their expectations.
Q: What can people do to make themselves marketable during the pandemic and after?
Joel: Highlight your work ethic and leverage tenure at previous companies. Many of our clients scrutinize career history with a fine-tooth comb and appreciate a lengthy stop during your career.
Q: People are scared right now. They feel unmoored and don’t know what to expect. How can mindset help people moving forward in a job market that is filled with so much uncertainty?
Joel: You have to keep your mental self in check. I’ve spoken with folks considered highly successful and business savvy, and they’re struggling mentally and emotionally with the quarantine. Help is available! Reach out to your doctor to discuss options. Telemedicine makes seeing a professional easy and convenient.
There’s no denying we’re living in uncertain times. Understand that this too shall pass, and one way or another there will be a resolution.Recruiting Top Talent