COVID-19 rebooted life as we know it, and in eight long months, the world and the workplace have been changed forever. It’s no secret that a month into pandemic panic, industries across the board and employees everywhere were facing uncertainty. As reported by the BBC, companies in the UK are “cutting hundreds of thousands of jobs” as a result of COVID-19, with no steady signs of improvement. With some sectors almost closing down completely, and the global economy starting to shrink, it’s no surprise that recruiting too saw a slump, with the number of job vacancies in the UK 55% higher in August than two months prior. Now, as the world slowly gets back on its feet and looks to the future, these are the top trends in recruiting that we’re likely to see:
1. Virtual Recruitment
Though virtual recruiting isn’t new, the pandemic has caused it to be instantly adopted by companies everywhere — and that’s a good thing. Virtual recruiting helps HR professionals save costs, be safe, and manage their time more efficiently. Using software to screen and interview candidates means recruiters can keep hiring and build the employer’s brand.
Integrating technology into recruitment could do wonders for a company image, given that the Gen Z workforce actively seeks out savvier employers. So when it comes to interviews, recruiters must learn the software, remain presentable, keep time zones in mind and, of course, be prepared.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning
AI and Machine Learning have long been buzzwords but as recruitment sees a digital overhaul post-pandemic, these are two advancements we’re sure to see more of. Artificial intelligence is the theory and practice of creating computer systems that mimic human behaviour to complete tasks. Machine learning is an application of AI, wherein we give machines data and they learn and adapt, using algorithms to solve and process complex patterns. So how will this affect recruitment? Take, for instance, candidate screening and selection. With AI and machine learning, recruiters can save time and resources and have the software scan and seek out the highest quality matches from large data sets to match open positions. This is but one of the many customizable ways that AI and Machine Learning can change recruitment processes.
The pandemic was a rude awakening for many employees. Overnight layoffs, pay cuts, and a lack of support have future job-seekers demanding more transparency of their employers. Post COVID-19, candidates will want to know exactly what to expect, what their employers can offer, and how their companies plan to support them even through cost-cutting. As a recruiter, it will be important to represent your company authentically and make sure you’re transparent with candidates about the scope, responsibilities, assurances, and perks of the job as well as the use of gig workers.
4. Employee Rights
COVID-19 has seen a new appreciation for all workers emerge. The outbreak of the virus has seen governments mandating and securing paid sick leave and other coverages for employees. For instance, statutory sick pay is now available for workers who can’t work due to COVID-19 resultant self-isolation. Even for those who are not sick but still self-isolating, full pay is expected if work is done from home. This means companies have to re-evaluate and restructure their policies to include employees that perhaps didn’t enjoy these perks before. This will help them retain their workforce and keep them happy, something recruiters can use to leverage when attracting new candidates.
5. Intuitive Recruiting
With an influx of applications, recruiters need to be constantly aware of trends and understand what job seekers want to attract top talent. By having a sense of what the ideal applicant is looking for, recruiters can restructure offers, showcase company strengths and strike a chord with candidates. Many factors can affect job searches including which industries are paying the most (it’s tech in 2020), and what the top motivators to switch jobs are — higher pay, unfulfilled promises, new challenges, and so on.
6. Employer’s Increased Role as a Safety Fallback
The COVID-19 crisis has forced employers to step up to protect their employees’ physical, mental, and financial well-being. As job seekers look for workplaces that spotlight health support, financial assistance, flexible working, and more, recruiters must be cognizant that this is likely to turn from trend to culture characteristic.
Candidates will be looking to see whether their employers value their personal wellness and what tangible measures the company offers in this regard. This means recruiters will have to actively and effectively communicate how employers prioritize welfare to hold the interest of top talent.
7. Championing Diversity and Inclusion
Besides the health crisis, 2020 has been a socio-politically charged year. No longer does it suffice to just hire a few people from diverse backgrounds and call it a day. Younger, more socially responsible workers are now demanding more of their companies and they want to see real change. What does this mean for HR professionals?
Harver states that this includes building a work culture that not only checks off diversity and representation but champions it, thereby creating an atmosphere where every employee is equal and important. Thus, actively hiring more diversely and creating formal policies and positions to manage diversity and inclusion is essential.
COVID-19 has changed how we work, and who we choose to work for. Recruiters have a new challenge to rise to and have to find new ways to adapt. With these insights on your side, you should have no trouble navigating the post-pandemic workplace and doing your best to get the right talent on board.