Coronavirus will have ‘significant consequences’ for hiring new talent

As many employers pause hiring plans, recruiters are considering how fair and inclusive virtual assessment and selection methods are.

Coronavirus is already having a significant impact on the jobs market, employers plans to hire and the recruitment industry as a whole, experts have warned.

Employment in Britain hit a record high in January before the outbreak of the virus, according to official figures, but the country is bracing for a wave of job losses and hiring freezes amid the crisis.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics – which cover November 2019 to January 2020 – showed the number of people in work increased by 184,000 in the three months to January, reaching a record high of 33 million. The employment rate rose to a joint-record high of 76.5%. 

Lee Biggins, CEO and founder of CV-Library, said there was “no doubt that the coronavirus outbreak will have significant consequences for the recruitment industry as a whole.”

Many employers were worried about the virus’s impact on their hiring efforts, Biggins said, which placed recruiters in a precarious position.

“This, combined with the fact that most UK businesses will incur serious costs from the outbreak and the recent volatility in the markets, means recruiters should expect business to slow in the coming months?,” he said.

“We're already hearing feedback that employers? are pausing their hiring plans while they wait for the worst to pass.”

Claire McCartney, resources and inclusion adviser at the CIPD, said many employers were facing the decision of whether to stop hiring alongside making possible reductions in staff.

This would likely have a knock-on effect for recruiters, she warned: “Depending on the sector, it’s likely that many organisations will, as a minimum, put a freeze on non-essential role hiring. Others will face the difficult situation of a complete hiring freeze and staff reductions.”

For those continuing to recruit, McCartney expected an increase in the use of virtual methods for the assessment and selection of candidates.

Virtual recruitment

But while digital-only recruitment methods could help reduce time to hire, they must be used in the right way so applicants weren’t put at a disadvantage, she said: “Recruiters and hiring managers need to ask if the method they are using is inclusive, fair and relevant to the role.”

But experts said there was still hope for the recruitment industry, as many employers would continue to hire for essential roles, and some sectors – such as health and social care and logistics – were already recruiting more workers.

The global pandemic could also change the way employers hire for the better, said Pawel Adrjan, head of EMEA research at Indeed. The move from in-person to virtual recruitment, and the widespread use of home working during the outbreak, could be a positive step-change for some, he said. 

“We know from our own research that jobseekers are increasingly looking for flexible work, including the option to work from home, and even before the outbreak employers were increasingly offering flexible-working options,” he said.

“With people across the world being advised or required to work from home, it will be interesting to see if this trend continues after the pandemic is quelled.”

Adapting to new ways of working as a result of Covid-19 was critical, agreed Biggins.

“It's abundantly clear that hiring professionals will have to think outside of the box to keep the industry moving. The key to weathering this storm is to keep calm and focus on finding alternative ways of working to ensure business continuity throughout the coming months.”


This article was originally published on People Management.

How has the coronavirus affected you? Please fill in this 15-question survey (all answers are anonymous) so that we can provide a measure of the impact of this pandemic worldwide.

For more features and breaking news sign up to C&IT Magazine's daily Newstracker.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in
In pictures: Events industry joins nationwide NHS tribute

In pictures: Events industry joins nationwide NHS tribute

As the UK came together to thank frontline healthcare workers, venues did their bit to mark the occasion.

Fears freelancers will be forced into debt despite UK chancellor’s intervention

Fears freelancers will be forced into debt despite UK chancellor’s intervention

Relief for freelancers welcomed by HBAA chair amid concerns many will have to take out loans before a payout in June.

How many MICE businesses have a complete travel ban in place?

How many MICE businesses have a complete travel ban in place?

Nearly 2,000 MICE professionals reveal whether their company has banned business travel in part three of C&IT's Impact of Coronavirus Report.

LIVE UPDATES: Which international events are being cancelled

LIVE UPDATES: Which international events are being cancelled

All the latest postponements and cancellations as the world deals with the spread of coronavirus.

Events industry applauds ExCeL's hospital transformation

Events industry applauds ExCeL's hospital transformation

The conference venue is expected to be ready for action as a huge coronavirus hospital by next week.

‘Kill the agenda, it gets in the way of creativity’

‘Kill the agenda, it gets in the way of creativity’

A detailed event schedule doesn’t leave much room for flexibility or self-expression, says INVNT’s Adam Harriden.

How coronavirus is changing event contracts and insurance forever

How coronavirus is changing event contracts and insurance forever

A need for more detailed contracts has been highlighted in C&IT’s Impact of Coronavirus Report, which surveyed 2,000 event professionals.

Aeorema Communications acquires Eventful

Aeorema Communications acquires Eventful

The deal marks Aeorema's 'conviction in the future and recovery of the events and MICE industry'.

Largest stimulus bill in US history agreed

Largest stimulus bill in US history agreed

A nearly $2-trillion package will boost the US economy amid the COVID-19 outbreak after both sides of the senate reached an agreement.

Industry support line launched by Stress Matters

Industry support line launched by Stress Matters

Help by phone and Whatsapp is available to event professionals who would like to talk to a trained mental health first aider.