Guest Writer: Joyce Fang, Marketing Manager, Vaco
At first glance, hiring seems to be in disarray. Headlines are dominated with news of layoffs and record-shattering jobless claims. Even for companies not actively laying off or furloughing, over 46% have frozen hiring initiatives for the near future. Just 51.3% of working-age Americans have jobs; the lowest number since we began recording.
How the business community is responding
Companies are getting creative. Some are even exploring cross-industry talent exchanges. For example, grocer Kroger is temporarily “borrowing” furloughed employees for 30 days from food distributor Sysco Corporation. These types of talent exchanges may become permanent hiring programs for contract positions or seasonal businesses.
Corporate relocations and expansions. Companies revaluating their business models may seek to relocate to slash fixed costs in the long term. Raleigh has always been a popular site for corporate relocations and expansions due to relatively lower taxes and real estate expenses, an innovative industry landscape, and access to a highly educated and skilled labor pool. Rather than suffering from brain drain, Raleigh has “brain gain”, where talent comes and stays, rather than returning home with their advanced degrees and technical experience. Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly just bought 110 acres in Durham in an expansion effort; more may follow.
Remote work is here to stay. The main reasons companies did not move remote were that they lacked infrastructure or thought it would affect team collaboration. With this sudden move, companies have been forced to invest in their remote capabilities and found that collaboration has stayed the same or been positively affected. With this success, companies may think about permanent remote positions to cut real estate costs. Fortune predicts that the number of people who work from home at least half the week could rise from 3.6% before the pandemic to up to 30% by the end of 2021.
NC’s technology industry varies. The tech sector has long been a major player in employing North Carolina residents. Though some tech companies are seeing an increase in demand, many are still viewing hiring with caution. Despite this, tech positions still dominate open job postings. This is true for traditional tech companies as well as any company that relies on IT and a secure, remote infrastructure to conduct business. Some companies are even expanding; last week, Raleigh-based software company Bandwidth committed to a new headquarters and adding 1,000+ jobs. Though NC’s tech sector seems to have inconsistent hiring practices, we assume the demand for IT, remote-readiness and cybersecurity will ultimately drive hiring for tech positions across all industries.
Continuously adapt to evolving employee preferences
Businesses are not the only ones with changing mindsets; this pandemic is permanently changing the way employees and jobseekers view work. As the world is cautiously optimistic that the worst of COVID-19 is over, businesses should get ahead by anticipating and adapting to these changes.
- With the success of remote collaboration, we expect more employees to request flexible work arrangements. Identify which positions can be at least partly remote and be prepared to discuss this in hiring negotiations.
- Prepare for an influx of candidates. Compared to last year, the volume of applications for roles has doubled. To avoid overloading hiring managers, streamline the activities required within interview and onboarding. Candidates take an average of 91 steps between submitting an application to being offered a position. Scaling this back to the minimum, effective steps will keep top talent interested, while saving internal resources.
- Companies that have not yet already need to invest immediately in their IT infrastructure and cybersecurity. In addition to preparing for continuing flexible work, your organization will be equipped with rapidly adaptive business capabilities.