The COVID-19 pandemic will go down in history as a ‘Black Swan’ event that disrupted and transformed the way businesses function. The last few months have proved extremely challenging as the outbreak of the novel coronavirus skewed the talent supply with a ratio favouring supply over demand. While the economy has been hit hard by COVID-19, severely disrupting the way much of the business world operates, many sectors have emerged relatively unscathed from the turmoil. Some sectors and jobs were hustling while many others were moving into a more futuristic realm. An analysis by CareerNet about roles in the Digital sector has cited that the offers to joining ratio in Q1 (Apr-May-Jun) was 70%, while it fell only to 60% in Q2 (Jul-Aug-Sep-60%) indicating a shift towards higher demand and lesser supply.
The legacy companies are redefining how they do business and are going digital. Accelerated by the onset of COVID-19, changes that were expected to take years happened at warp speed, happening within months. The transformation is evident across sectors and geographies. On the other hand, recruiting amidst the pandemic looks radically different than it did barely a year ago. Employers are open to hiring employees who want to work remotely. Job seekers keen on these roles should feature abilities that exhibit solid communication and teamwork skills as well as being comfortable with technology.
While organizations march ahead towards digital transformation, it is imperative that technology is integrated into the HR processes of the company to take data-backed decisions. Virtual hiring is becoming the new normal. As a majority of campuses have gone virtual, companies are looking to draw attention, engage, and shortlist top talent from campuses without being physically present there. In a first, the IITs analysed options to authorise students to participate in recruitment drives remotely, and a record number of offers was reported. Similarly, IIMs’ summer placements took place and a majority of them clocked 100 per cent virtually.
While there have been green shoots on the hiring front, more than half the businesses expect hiring to bounce back after January 2021, according to a survey titled 'Present hiring outlook in India: Impact of COVID-19 on hiring' by CareerNet. There will be more outsourcing to India against the backdrop of travel restrictions/visa processes and greater acceptance of work-from-anywhere. There are already indications of companies keen on setting up manufacturing and technology facilities in India. Sectors such as manufacturing, BFSI, retail (supply chain and technology) are set to be job generators. The BFSI sector is reportedly planning to hire double the number of employees this year compared to the last.
As 2020 passed by, here are a few trends to watch out for in talent acquisition in 2021:
The faster adoption of remote recruitment by employers is paving the way for just-in-time hiring. Virtual recruiting provides candidates with the flexibility to take part in assessments and video interviews remotely, while for recruiters it can lessen the cost of recruitment and ensures a quicker time-to-hire. The end to the end-recruitment process is getting digitalised, from sourcing to on-boarding. The friction in the recruitment process is getting eliminated with the adoption of technology solutions, making the process a lot more efficient.
Increased adoption of formal assessment
As virtual recruiting is becoming the norm, employers want to ensure they are hiring the right candidates, and the remote working culture isn’t a hindrance. The coming year will see more organizations employing scientifically-driven assessments to find the right hires. Another virtual hiring trend quickly picking up is the asynchronous video interview. Technology has made it conceivable to interview individuals asynchronously and without being restricted by geography.
Boost to freelancing/gig economy
The expression “gig economy” is no longer simply another catchphrase. With a consistently increasing number of freelancers in the country, it is a normal practice among certain organizations to rope in freelancers. Nonetheless, the huge worldwide health emergency (COVID-19) that triggered the job losses around the world and job seekers sought to discover opportunities on the Internet, in turn, boosting the gig economy that offers specialised roles. Candidates will have more choices going forward. The idea of 1 person: 1 job has been defenestrated.
Diverse talent pool
As WFH is anticipated to turn into practice for a huge chunk of the workforce as an outcome of COVID-19, organizations are introducing new job roles embodying gender diversity during the hiring process. Women will be considering a second attempt at the working world since this pandemic has altered the business perspective to promote more WFH opportunities. As gender diversity is turning into a priority for many an Indian organization, one important criterion would be to empower women and encourage them to return to the workforce after a career break.
Democratising of Talent
The present business world has transformed altogether. It is now more serious, focused, driven by technology, time-bound, and many of the unavoidable costs have a significant role to play in all viewpoints. However, there is consistently one thing that has been common for ages i.e. Talent. Talent is the primary factor that everyone needs and skilled people are what everybody wants. With remote work culture settling in, accessibility to jobs as well as talent would be available round the clock. Since employers are open to hiring suitable candidates who may be located anywhere in the country, 2021 will see talent being democratised in India -- which means the availability of talent anytime, anywhere.
The onus of career growth
When we speak about career progression, the employer plays a vital role in supervising the employee in his/her career path. The employer manages parts of the career development through coaching and job structuring. However, with the growing popularity of WFH/WFA culture, the larger responsibility of one’s career growth will be with the employee's own self. Employees must invest in knowledge enrichment, self-assessments, and identification of areas where they might need training/upskilling with the right supervision. Online training will enable candidates to identify trends, technological advancements in their functional areas and help them plan their learning strategy. The process will lead to knowledge enhancement, improved self-confidence, deeper expertise in the field and career progress.
The unprecedented crisis of COVID-19 did put companies under stress and pushed them to change the way they work. Organizations needed to guarantee that their current employees were in the right frame of mind and ensure an effortless hiring process while onboarding new employees. The second half of 2020 has witnessed an increase in employment. The year 2021 will be the year where employers will have to reconsider their hiring and onboarding strategies which would be crucial for the next phase of their business growth.