The labour market sick with coronavirus

Jan 14, 2022

The coronavirus crisis is just beginning. But many people are concerned about the impact it could have on the labour market. Although it is still difficult to say what the exact impact of this health crisis will be, hiring freeze and a sharp rise in the unemployment rate are among the fears already expressed.  

Recruitment continues in some sectors...

For the time being, the recruitment of some strategic positions does not appear to be affected by the slowdown in activity. This is the case for certain sales and business developer profiles. According to the Financial Times, companies in the technology sector continue to hire to take advantage of a world that is increasingly going digital due to the coronavirus. According to the British daily, in California alone 15,852 jobs are open for hiring in this sector.

While much of the Western world is in lockdown, orders on e-commerce websites are exploding. Amazon has just announced the recruitment of 100,000 full and part-time employees in the United States.

But not all sectors are in the same boat. And the situation is much more contrasted elsewhere.

...In others, recruitments are on hold or cancelled

The coronavirus crisis has hit hard in more than one area. Tourism, air transport, aeronautics, catering, events, luxury goods, advertising... Several recruitment agencies are already reporting this impact. Some recruitment missions now seem to be waiting for better days. Questioned by the Cadremploi website, Emmanuel Stanislas, head of the recruitment firm Clementine, does not hide his pessimism. My clients in the luxury sector are showing confidence and optimism, but are postponing sine die the recruitments initially planned in the coming weeks," he confided to the monthly magazine at the beginning of March. In tourism, it's even worse, he adds: "In a few days, we have gone from a situation where we defined candidate profiles together to a situation where the end of trial periods for new arrivals is evoked".

In companies, HR departments are for the moment busier managing the consequences of the crisis on employees than dealing with possible recruitments. With the introduction of new containment measures, they do, it is true, have bigger fish to fry. It is the entire work organization that is being overhauled in companies.

Telework is everywhere

The pandemic has presented businesses with a real challenge. Indeed, the entire frame of work had to be redefined. In just a few days, no fewer than 1.6 million employees were placed on short-time working or technical unemployment in France, according to the expanded measures put in place to deal with the crisis. But whenever possible, companies offered their employees the option of continuing to work from home. With telework, the management team and employees are obliged to define new processes. For companies, it is not a question of letting their employees freewheel. Contact must happen daily via videoconference, an opportunity to take stock of the progress of the missions and to continue to mobilize the teams. Although it has given rise, for some, to a period of hesitation during which it has been difficult to share private and professional space in the same place, it would seem that little by little, the adaptation to telework is being done rather well. Employees are discovering some of the associated benefits such as no commuting, flexible working hours or the optimization of working and non-working hours.

Telework to attract top talent

In an analysis published in the online daily La Tribune, Antoine Levy, PhD at MIT, and Florian Ingen-Housz, Partner at Altermind, discuss the idea that teleworking could well become a crucial issue in attracting top talent. Even before the pandemic, the strike movements in December 2019 in France had favoured the implementation of telework in some companies. Malakoff Humanis' Telework 2020 " survey, published in early March, reveals that 38% of employees who had never opted for telework used it and that the majority perceived a clear improvement in their well-being without affecting their work performance.  

The Covid-19 crisis is undoubtedly helping to usher in a new era of telework. Does this mode of operation herald a very different future? One where companies could go further and opt mainly for "remote", a form of work organization where all the employees of a company work permanently from a distance. Although we are a long way from this today, there is no doubt that the subject will find itself on the agenda of an ever-increasing number of companies.

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