What to consider when recruiting amid COVID-19

The pandemic's impact on Singapore's hiring scene has been 'different' from other countries, says one economist

What to consider when recruiting amid COVID-19

How has COVID-19 impacted the recruitment market?

Callam Pickering, APAC economist at Indeed said while hiring seems to be showing improvement in most countries, it “hasn’t been the case” in Singapore.

“The impact of COVID-19 has been different here, owing partly to an initial containment of the spread, which delayed the hiring impact,” said Pickering, who's holding an upcoming webinar on the pandemic's impact on Singapore's labour market.

By mid-August, his team found that job postings on Indeed were tracking 29% lower than over the same period last year. That gap narrowed from 37% at the end of the 2019-20 financial year — mainly due to a seasonal decline in job postings this time last year.

Indeed also found the impact also hasnt been evenly spread across sectors. This finding is aligned with observations by Minister Heng Swee Keat recently.

READ MORE: Singapore enhances COVID-19 support measures

“Job postings in just one-fifth of sectors, such as loading & stocking, nursing, scientific research and production & manufacturing are tracking ahead of last year,” Pickering said.

“Unfortunately, that isnt true for most sectors. Many have experienced sharp falls in hiring activity, reflecting the widespread restrictions on economic activity.”

The hardest-hit sectors included:

  • Hospitality & tourism — Down 74% compared with last years trend
  • Mathematics — Down 47%
  • Food preparation — Down 47%
  • Therapy — Down 46%

So what should leaders consider when developing a recruitment strategy in these tricky times?

Pickering told HRD that while adapting to the constantly disrupted environment isnt easy, we can turn to plenty of learnings.

“Weve learned a lot more about what it means to work with an entirely remote workforce, but we are still learning,” he said. “Navigating these changing conditions requires a special focus on communications.

“One major shift to recruiting strategy is how to best prep candidates on interviewing virtually so that theyll be just as successful and comfortable as they would be in an onsite, in-person setting. It is best to have a remote hiring and onboarding process in place.”

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