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Consider the next career move. 5 factors that will shape the labor market after Covid-19

Wednesday, 24 June, 2020
@IMSA Search Global Partners

IMSA Search Members summarise the situation in the labor market and encourage CEOs to think about it in terms of… opportunity.

While countries are loosening Covid-19 restrictions, many people are facing quite a dilemma. Managers are thinking “what’s their next career moves” should be. On the other side of the table – CEOs and CHROSs are reopening the hiring processes. Both groups share the same questions – about the shape of post-COVID reality.

The disturbance of work

Almost every business around the world had to change its strategy or structure in recent months, which will reflect in hiring. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), 94 percent of the world’s workers are living in countries with some sort of workplace closure measures in place. And it’s not over yet. “The prospects for the second quarter of 2020 remain dire, with the latest ILO estimates revealing a decline in working hours of around 10.7 percent relative to the last quarter of 2019, which is equivalent to 305 million full-time jobs,” ILO says in a report.

UN agencies pay special attention to the condition of young people, who are facing multiple shocks from the COVID‑19 crisis. A total of 178 million young workers around the world, more than four out of every ten young people employed globally, were working in hard-hit sectors when the crisis began*.

These 5 factors will shape the labor market after Covid-19

John Boudreau, Professor of Management Organization at the University of Southern California, is trying to address the problem of labor market unpredictability. In an article for Harvard Business Review, he invokes the Global Consortium to Reimagine HR, Employment Alternatives, Talent, and the Enterprise (CHREATE). It has mapped how organizations must evolve to meet future challenges. Expert distinguished five forces that are shaping the labour market right now:

  • Social and organizational reconfiguration. Companies need to be more transparent to stakeholders, more agile, invest in power-balanced forms, and project-based relationships. CHREATE suggests that company structures will shift toward more horizontal, shared, and collective.
  • All-inclusive global talent market. The current crisis may be the factor that finally transforms the labor market into more diverse. As John Boudreau wrote: “Women and nonwhite ethnicities become talent majorities, and greater longevity increases multigenerational workforces. Social policies support boundary-less work beyond traditional full-time employment.”
  • A truly connected world. Social isolation makes employees more open for boundary-less work partnerships. It turned out that many tasks can be done via the internet. As so “work is increasingly virtual and occurs anywhere and anytime, through mobile personal devices with global real-time communications.”
  • Exponential technology change. Technological advance accelerates and reshapes the ecosystem of almost every business on Earth. Concepts like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, or commoditized sensors aren’t only catchphrases anymore. They are solutions for basic problems every day.
  • Human-automation collaboration. Automatisation of work has incorporated some of the jobs that were traditionally done by a human. On the other hand, it creates entirely new positions for specialists.

All these factors seem to be accurate, but also are not entirely different from the tendencies we could spot in the labor market before the Covid-19 pandemic. So perhaps – on some level – the epidemic sped up the processes and forced CEOs to make inevitable changes?

Leaders should stay strong and informed

Of course, the numbers and predictions above don’t look too optimistic. Nevertheless, the Covid-19 epidemic isn’t the first nor the last crisis in the global economy. And if there is one significant lesson we can take from previous setbacks, it is the idea that even the worst event may be treated as an opportunity to expand your business.

So, how to navigate the hiring process or the employment search in the era of uncertainty? Trust the experts. In difficult times any bit of advice for your business should be individual and tailor-made. Each company is in a unique position right now. IMSA Search Global Partners are willing to help your business to grow, despite the coronavirus storm. Contact one of our 49 local offices in 22 countries worldwide.


*) The fourth edition of ILO Monitor: “COVID-19 and the world of work“.

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