7 Trends that Will Shape the Post-Pandemic Recruitment Sector

“If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” has been the prevailing attitude of HR teams and business and recruitment managers forever, it seems. 

Hiring decisions based largely on resumes, interviews, and previous experience have been the standard way to recruit for so long that it seemed there was no alternative.  

But, many traditional hiring best practices are non-starters today and the pandemic accelerated this uncomfortable truth.

The “great disruption” has changed the way we work (remote, hybrid, etc.) and how employers attract and retain valuable staff.

Challenging the past - to rip-up long-held rules of recruitment - is a process that many companies and organizations are adopting or considering now.

Assumptions to question include – do candidates need a degree to do this job? Do they need x-years of experience? How can we speed up the approval and hiring process? Do CVs tell us what we want to know for this role?

The concept of “roles” is also up for debate. 

The pace of change in the business world may render many roles irrelevant in five or ten years. Instead, appointing experts to run projects over a set period of time is likely to become the norm in the near future. 

Change is non-negotiable 

Change is never easy or straightforward, however, especially in the corporate sector, where traditions and norms can be hard to replace. Hiring managers and senior leaders often hold strong opinions based on their own recruitment experiences.

Old-held attitudes and ways of doing things must change, however, because they add layers and barriers to the hiring process. They are speed bumps in an age where the pace really matters if you want to attract the best talent in the market. 

New expectations

Accustomed to user-friendly, personalized, fast responding platforms when they shop online, jobseekers (especially young candidates) have the same expectation when it comes to applying for a job. 

Companies that fail to provide a terrific user experience for applicants will fall behind in the race for top candidates and could become irrelevant and increasingly invisible in the future. 

While the ball is very much in the court of skilled workers today, job trends keep evolving as innovative technologies emerge, business landscapes shift, new government policies get introduced, and worker needs change, and here are seven talking points that will lead the conversation around recruitment in the post-pandemic economy. 

Recruiters and senior managers should keep these trends, topics, and developments at the top of their minds as they map out their HR roadmaps and benefits packages to attract top talent. 

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1. New jobs, new skills, new growth sectors 

According to McKinsey’s “The Future of Work after COVID-19” report, the pandemic has hit the low-wage sector the hardest, and they anticipate that almost all growth in labor demand will occur in high-wage jobs.

Going forward, this means more than half of displaced low-wage workers may need to shift to occupations in higher wage brackets – but they will need to learn new skills to remain employed.

In-demand skills will vary from region to region. 

  • In Germany, for example, the share of time workers spend using cognitive skills may shrink by 3.4 percentage points, while time spent using social and emotional skills will increase by 3.2 points.
  • In India, the share of total work hours using physical and manual skills will decline by 2.2 percentage points, while time devoted to technological skills will rise by 3.3 points. 

In Europe and the U.S., the workers who are more likely to need to change jobs after COVID-19 include those without a college degree, members of ethnic minority groups, and women.

Gender-wise, women in France, Germany, and Spain are 3.9 times more likely to have to find a new job due to the economic impact of COVID-19. And the need for occupational change will hit younger workers more than older workers.

Job sectors predicted to prosper in the post-COVID-19 environment include warehousing and transportation driven by growth in e-commerce and the delivery economy. Healthcare and STEM industry workers are also expected to be in high demand due to factors such as aging populations and a growing need for people who can create, deploy, and maintain new technologies. 

Industries expected to fare the worst are food service, customer sales, and service roles, as well as less-skilled office support roles. 

2. Gig workers here to stay 

In addition to new jobs, skills, and sectors, a new type of worker has also emerged, and they are poised to play a big part in driving post-pandemic business growth.

The rise of the gig economy powered by companies such as Uber and Deliveroo opened the doors for more companies to trial new approaches to workforce strategy including the use of more temporary, or contingent workers.

Reduced overheads and increased flexibility are the major benefits of adopting the gig worker approach for companies. Scaling-up or down resources quickly and cost-effectively is another benefit for businesses - gig workers allow them more opportunities to maximize sales cycles or timely promotions that they may not have considered due to staff limitations.  

On the flip side, gig workers like the independence offered by contract or project work – they are not “chained to a desk” and have more control over their income and lifestyle choices. They also like the growing range of opportunities available, from customer service calls to coding web pages across diverse sectors, including IT, finance, customer service, and more.

Hiring without boundaries is another positive for employers and gig workers. 

Communication and collaboration technologies put everyone on the same page now, enabling digital nomads to work in diverse geographies and time zones. This is great news for companies located in areas with limited access to specialists - they can expand their talent search across cities, counties, countries, and continents to get the best. 

3. Contingent workforces and flexible work are on the rise

Economic aftershocks produced by the pandemic are expected to be felt for some time, and many organizations responded by reducing their contractor budgets.

Gartner’s analysis shows this is expected to change as organizations turn to contingent workers to maintain more flexibility in the workforce in the post-pandemic environment. Other flexibility options such as talent sharing and 80% pay for 80% work are also predicted to become popular.

Replacing full-time workers with temporary staffers will save costs. Employing gig workers also offers greater workforce management flexibility, and HR leaders will have to create performance management systems to apply to contract workers in the near future. 

READ MORE: How to start a staffing agency

4. Working for purpose and meaning 

Salaries, healthcare, provident funds, and other perks are top-of-mind benefits “carrots” for most job seekers.

Working for a company that fulfills a purpose or makes a meaningful difference in the community is another consideration for more people, especially those coming into the workforce for the first time.

Harvard Business Review reported that more than 90% of employees would be willing to earn 23% less money to do work they believe has meaning. The same study found that employees with meaningful jobs are "69% less likely to plan on quitting their jobs within the next six months," and intend to stay longer with the company.

Companies without a defined vision, or purpose, should make it a priority in the months ahead.

While those who have – but underplay it – must seriously think about promoting key messages and case studies on corporate websites, career boards, and other platforms attracting public eyeballs. 

Cisco is renowned as one of the best organizations in the world when it comes to projecting a positive, authentic, and aspirational corporate story. A lot of their success comes from their employee-led “We are Cisco” communications and campaigns. 

Meaningful work combined with a caring workplace culture also plays an important role in countering loneliness and social isolation in the workplace. 

Researchers found a strong correlation between social support at work and employee retention – employees who experienced above-average levels of workplace social support were less likely to plan on quitting their job in the next six months.

This finding is more relevant than ever before because the stress and anxiety brought on by the pandemic will be ever-present. Many workers will continue to weigh up what is important in their lives and rethink priorities – companies that provide an empathetic and supportive workplace and culture are more likely to flourish in the talent market.

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5. Give workers a reason to return to the office

Hybrid working is here to stay, and savvy recruiters understand that work flexibility is, and will remain a huge drawcard for job hunters today. 

Gartner’s research reveals that 48% of employees will probably work remotely (at least part of the time) after the pandemic, compared to 30% pre-pandemic, and 74% of CFOs intend to increase remote work at their organization after the outbreak. 

Given the forced U-turn in how and where we work, managers face a “big ask” if they want workers to return to the office for some days of the week as pandemic risks come down. 

According to the Microsoft Work Trend Index report, more than a third (38%) of hybrid employees say their biggest challenge is knowing when and why to come into the office. Yet just 28% of companies have established team agreements to define the new norms.

Reimagining the role of the office and providing a reason for employees to meet in person requires a creative approach, and “Team Tuesdays”, or in-person office hours between 12 p.m. and 2 pm, two days a week, and quarterly offsites are some options put forward.

6. A level hiring playing field – make it a reality today 

Hiring based on race, age, and gender should become a thing of the past sooner, rather than later.

With the availability and affordability of AI-powered recruiting tools today, recruiters must integrate these innovative tools into their Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to “walk the talk” when it comes to embracing diverse hiring. 

7. Recruiting tech is essential to find top talent faster and more cost-effectively 

Candidates expect a seamless digital experience when applying for a job today, and speed, efficiency, and ease of use are three key benchmarks.

Research conducted for a PwC future of recruiting report revealed that 44% of candidates are open to using automation and technology options for routine touchpoints and to get information during the recruiting process. And 65% of candidates said they would like organizations to have an application dashboard to track their progress. 

Technology will also rear its head in other parts of the recruitment process, with 65% of those surveyed saying they would be more likely to consider a role if they had a chance to experience the actual job through virtual reality solutions, while 55% said they’re interested in gamified, interactive interviews.

While recruitment management technologies such as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are widely used by many companies to sort and read resumes, shortlist candidates, and automate communications with candidates, other solutions supporting diverse functions are expected to be popular in the post-pandemic workplace.

These include:

Recruitment marketing automation software simplifies the complex hiring process by automating basic functions like screening candidates as well as added value benefits such as scheduling interviews and tracking applicants to reduce the time to close vacancies and cost per hire.

Constant improvement is another benefit enabled by AI and machine learning features that identify new ways to improve processes to save time, money, and effort. Recruitment marketing automation can also be used to text candidates daily about the upcoming interview (up until the interview day) to reduce the chance of being ghosted by applicants (when applicants don’t turn up for an interview). 

Programmatic recruitment advertising refers to the use of technologies to automate the placing of job ads in online channels and spaces visited by targeted candidates. It does this by scanning the browsing data of candidates and applying sophisticated algorithms to show them the right ad, at the right time, in the right channel for them. 

While common among marketing and sales teams, programmatic advertising for recruitment is new, and leaders are still in the early stages of discovering its true value. It does, however give recruiters the ability to to point advertising directly in front of target candidates. It also enables employers to advertise open positions in diverse channels beyond job boards and sites to cast a wider hiring net. 

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Reinvent to stay relevant 

Slow-to-adapt employers need to change fast. 

They need to reinvent workplace culture, hiring strategies, and recruitment approaches and technologies to stay relevant and attractive to job hunters in the post-pandemic world.

And on top of remuneration and incentive adjustments, boosting workplace benefits, and upskilling and lateral promotion opportunities, revitalizing hiring technologies is also needed.

If the prospect of getting your recruitment management systems up to speed and fit for purpose in the post-pandemic economy is a bit daunting, Manatal is well placed and resourced to provide an assured, helping hand.

As an established and respected recruitment software industry leader, Manatal’s ATS platform and advanced hiring software solutions are built to optimize HR processes according to a company’s specific needs – regardless of industry, scale, or location. Manatal’s solutions are easy to deploy and backed by an always-available support team.

If you’re ready to take your recruiting to the next level, sign up for a free 14-day trial with Manatal now to see how our efficient AI-powered ATS can help you find the best talent (anywhere) faster.

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