It’s hard to accurately capture just how volatile and disruptive the global pandemic has been to the entire work world. Almost overnight, everyone from lean startups to huge multinational corporations had to rethink how they operated and conducted business at every level while facing massive headwinds due to economic, social, and cultural uncertainty.
As a result, the work landscape has been undergoing unbelievably rapid shifts at speeds that would have been completely unpredictable just a few years ago, but that’s often an aspect of change—we don’t always see it coming but those who respond accordingly to it are best positioned to find a successful path forward. As we slowly emerge from the pandemic and look ahead to a post-COVID world, this notion is especially important—employers and employees alike are going to have to learn to pivot and adjust to the new normals of the work world if they’re going to grab success from the mouth of uncertainty.
Although none of us has a crystal ball to completely foresee what short- and long-term variables will have a significant impact on the hiring landscape moving forward, expect the following to help shape and define what you can expect to encounter.
Hiring Landscape Forecast
Many industry experts are anticipating a significant post-pandemic hiring boom, at least partly attributable to the return of jobs that were paused and furloughed during the worst of the pandemic. As people continually return to pre-pandemic levels of engagement and living and business and consumer confidence rise accordingly, hiring and rehiring should follow suit, particularly in sectors hit hard by lockdown restrictions. Although the labor market overall has experienced fits and starts in terms of meeting job recovery expectations in recent months, the overall trend has been an uptick in hiring and growth in the labor force. As more and more people get vaccinated and infection rates dwindle, expect restrictions to continue to get lifted and businesses to reap the benefits—and hire accordingly as the economy recovers and gains strength.
Thus far in the pandemic recovery, areas of growth have been most noticeable in the leisure and hospitality industries, which stands to reason—as these businesses see a return to pre-pandemic levels of business activity their hiring needs will continue to increase. Other key sectors that economists are closely watching for signs of growth in the crucial initial months of the recovery include manufacturing, retail, construction, education, and healthcare.
How And Where?
As the labor market stabilizes, employers are reimagining how and where their teams will operate in order to maximize productivity and provide greater flexibility to their employees while minimizing overhead costs and remaining sensitive to those who remain cautious about re-entering shared office space in the wake of the pandemic. This means that the hiring landscape, at least for the near future, will largely be characterized by remote interviewing and remote employment opportunities where feasible. If you’ve been active in the work world during the pandemic then this will likely not be a surprise to you; those who are re-engaging after some time away will need to be well-versed in the tools that have helped companies stay viable during the pandemic—including video conferencing software like Zoom and team networking software like Slack, along with any other project management or communication tools your prospective employer may be utilizing—to be regarded as a good prospective candidate for open positions.
Furthermore, more and more companies are adopting lean mindsets when it comes to staffing their teams in order to navigate through the economic uncertainty and survive amidst the competition. Simply put, this means that they’re expecting a smaller number of individuals to shoulder a growing volume of work tasks. Expect the hiring landscape moving forward to include a redefining of roles and responsibilities for open jobs, and those who remain flexible and capable of doing more with less will be best positioned for success.
For many of us, the notion of a post-COVID era feels like a light at the end of a dark tunnel, and for employers and employees alike it will be a time for taking stock and reinvention as we think about experiences and lessons learned and look forward into the future. Expect the post-COVID hiring landscape to reflect the same level of reimagining—and don’t forget that it’s in your best interest to stay open and flexible to the changes that lie ahead.