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The impact of COVID on the job marketplace

However, the Covid-19 panic has affected every sector in the job marketplace. Companies are desperately in need to increase their revenues...

The impact of COVID on the job marketplace


Mar 10th 2021

4 mins

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The impact of COVID on the job marketplace

The COVID-19 health crisis is an unprecedented shock that has transformed the lives and livelihoods of individuals around the globe. Its effects are likely to extend beyond the short term into the medium and long term as well. The severe health impacts have been matched by sharp declines in economic activity and disruptions in the job marketplace. Preliminary evidence shows that, economically, the COVID-19 crisis is considerably more profound than the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

Here are some of the major impacts of COVID on the current job marketplace.

The Rise in the Rate of Unemployment

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, total civilian employment fell by 8.8 million over the year, as the COVID-19 pandemic brought the economic expansion to a sudden halt, taking a tremendous toll on the US labor market. The unemployment rate increased in 2020, surging to 13 percent in the second quarter of the year before easing to 6.7 percent in the fourth quarter. Although some people were able to work at home, the numbers of unemployed on temporary layoff, those working part-time for economic reasons, and those unemployed for 27 or more weeks increased sharply over the year.

The Decline in Job Vacancies

The volume of online job postings dropped significantly since the start of the pandemic and the introduction of COVID-19 related containment measures. In the second half of March 2020, job vacancies advertised online in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States declined sharply and by early May, the volume of online job vacancies had fallen by over 50% in all five countries compared to the beginning of the year. Data show that the drop was widespread, affecting almost all sectors and occupations in the five economies. By the end of December, the drop in online job postings was still very evident in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Working from Home

The changing nature of work due to COVID-19 social distancing measures led to an increase in the share of job postings advertising “working from home” as a required condition. This “work from home” requirement was established as part of the effort to sustain economic activity and overcome limitations to operations due to sheltering-in-place orders or recommendations.

Adverse Effects on the Low-level Job Marketplace

The COVID-19 crisis has had more adverse impacts on the demand for jobs requiring lower qualifications, but not in all countries. For example, by the end of April in Australia and the United Kingdom, the volume of job postings requiring low levels of education (secondary or lower) fell by around 40% whereas those for high skilled workers (Master or Doctorate degrees) by around 25%. In the United States and Canada, however, differences across educational levels are less marked.

High Demand in the Front-line sectors of the Job Marketplace

The demand for workers in front-line sectors, or in those involved in the management of the COVID19 pandemic, was very high, demonstrated by both a growing number of front-line jobs advertised and a less steep decline in postings relative to other sectors. For example, online job postings in the healthcare sector and other essential sectors such as retail trade underwent an exponential increase in January and February 2020. Conversely, vacancies published online declined substantially in sectors that had to shut down due to government-imposed social distancing restrictions, such as the leisure and hospitality industries.

A study further revealed that there was also a strong increase in the demand for technical competencies in the healthcare sector, such as emergency and intensive care workers or skills in basic patient care. Transversal skills, such as communication skills or teamwork also remained in strong demand among the most frequently advertised positions in the job marketplace.

Remedies to the Negative Impacts of COVID on the Job Marketplace

An overview of the impact of COVID-19 on the global job marketplace reveals that there were both positive and negative impacts experienced in the employment sectors in every country across the globe. The negative impacts of COVID on the job marketplace include the skyrocketing of the unemployment rate, a general decline in job vacancies, scarce recruitment into low-skill level positions, and the fall of numerous non-essential industries and businesses such as leisure and hospitality services.

In order to combat these negative impacts, here are a few ways that the losses experienced in the job marketplace due to the impact of COVID-19 can be remedied:

Government Intervention

Governments need to support the development of skills that foster individuals’ resilience in the rapidly changing economic landscape by meeting the demand from the job marketplace. Social policies and policy interventions will need to be adjusted in line with the evolution of the spread of the virus and be tailored to each country’s institutional and economic structure.

For longer-term economic recovery, governments must also address pre-existing structural challenges that are likely to accelerate and become more urgent in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. Among these, is the provision of adequate support to low-skilled and vulnerable workers through effective retraining and upskilling policies.

Individual Efforts

In light of the current status of the global economic landscape and job marketplace, individuals must take into account that the times have changed. Certain business MO’s that worked pre-COVID do not work anymore. Thus, everyone must get with the times. Engaging in active skills acquisition to gain competencies that are relevant in today’s business climate such as IT skills is imperative. This is what will enable you to survive these changing times and even the period afterward.

Health Risk

As a result of the fear of being exposed to Covid-19, most people end up exposing close ones to the virus. As a result, most job roles that require the on-site presence of the employee went unfilled. This led several employers and companies to increase the pay of their workers. This signifies that we are in an employer’s job marketplace.

Most individuals moving from one place to another is a result of the Covid factors and economic support. They are hoping to get from family rather than the attractiveness of the job markets. Most executive search firms noticed that this claim is mostly true, especially for senior roles. Thus, this is a bad development for employers.

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