The Post-Pandemic Recruitment Outlook

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According to the BBC, the number of online job adverts in mid-February reached 80% of the level seen a year earlier. Whilst it’s not quite back to 100% it is significantly better than what it was during the first UK lockdown. Some stats showing that it had fallen as low as 34% around March/April of last year. 

This growth in the number of vacancies is promising news for both job seekers and those looking to recruit. As the economy looks set to re-open, whether you’re on the job hunt or trying to hire, you need to know what the recruitment landscape looks like. Below are the key topics you need to be aware of as the world awakens, post-pandemic. 

Recruitment Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are nothing new but how and who they target is always changing. Unfortunately, the job losses brought about by the pandemic has created a new target demographic for these scammers, job seekers. With unemployment reaching record levels across the globe, the number of people actively seeking work has skyrocketed. Widespread and unexpected job losses combined with the backdrop of the pandemic has made many people desperate.

This desperation has made people more susceptible to these scams than they would be normally. People are far more inclined to believe an offer that might seem too good to be true if they don’t have an income to rely on. While sometimes these scams are quite obvious, some are very hard to distinguish. 

An ongoing phishing scam to look out for is one trying to impersonate world-renowned employment consultancy, Michael Page. Attackers are spoofing Michael Page consultant email addresses and contacting job seekers posing as these consultants. The emails they send contain embedded links, luring job seekers with the promise of a tempting executive role, but actually downloading malware that steals your information. 

When it comes to phishing scams it’s always best to err on the side of caution. The government advise that if you believe that you are in receipt of a scam email to forward it directly to report@phishing.gov.uk

Graduate & School Leaver Recruitment Increases

A recent poll by the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) found that most top employers that regularly recruit graduate candidates are planning on hiring more graduates now that the economy is re-opening. Whilst this is obviously good news for graduates it also highlights wider confidence amongst employers that the economy is about to reopen for good. 

A similar result was found in regard to high school leavers as well. Around a third of employers surveyed by ISE said that they were planning on recruiting more from this pool when compared to the past year. The research also highlighted the growing shift to remote working. While historically graduate opportunities were mainly managed via in-person meetings, with a growing desire for digital skills and flexibility in the UK, it doesn’t seem that this trend will continue. 

Commenting on this change, Stephen Isherwood, CEO of ISE said that:

“Student recruitment and development will operate differently [adter the pandemic]. Two years ago, the majority of how we recruited and developed young people was largely in person and nobody is talking about going back to this. The crisis has forced more employers to adopt technology and we’re already seeing a more permanent shift to online and blended techniques as they realise the benefits. People are looking for new and different models rather than reverting to what they know.”  

Rise in Youth Unemployment

Despite rising opportunities for young people, these statistics often hide a bleaker picture. Workers under the age of 24 experienced the highest volume of job losses of any demographic at the start of the pandemic. Some sources show that as many as 3 out of 5 of all jobs lost in relation to the pandemic have been amongst this age group. 

One of the issues is that industries that have traditionally recruited young people are some of the hardest affected. Hospitality, the nigh time economy and retail are going to take the longest time tine to recover which means there are less jobs available. Combined with the sheer volume of applicants for these jobs, research has shown that as many has 4,000 job seekers are applying for entry level roles. It’s important with such high levels of competition you make yourself as competitive as possible. Tidy up your CV, practice your interview techniques and even consider getting yourself background checked.

The biggest impact of this is felt by those from ethnic minority or lower socio-economic backgrounds. Young people in these demographics have often relied upon part-time work to fund their studies. The lack of opportunities for these young people, unless dealt with soon, will help fuel an already existing lack of diversity within the UK labour market. 

Where have the candidates gone?

With such a rise in unemployment since the start of the pandemic, it’s easy to assume that every industry would have a huge pool of candidates to choose from now things are re-opening. Whilst this is definitely true for some industries, there are just as many that are discovering their candidate poll has started to dry up. 

This is particularly true in the notoriously overworked and underpaid world of hospitality. Many chefs and front of house staff have been forced to adapt after losing their jobs, in many cases, this has meant changing careers entirely. As these individuals have adjusted to their new careers, they have often noticed significant benefits in their health and wellbeing. This has been mainly attributed to fewer hours, less stress and more quality time with their families. 

On the other hand, some job seekers who may have been made redundant nearer the start of the pandemic may have also lost momentum with their job search. Studies show that people are more active in their job search when they have recently lost employment. 

The longer that these individuals are out of work, the less proactive they become. This means that despite the economy starting to see a spike in vacancies, these applicants aren’t engaging with the job market as they were doing Initially. It’s important that if you are recruiting, you’re making yourself as visible as possible to all the potential candidates out there.