2020 was not an easy year. The world as we know it came to a halt. London suffered one of the biggest drops in job opportunities and a stark rise in unemployment. Adding to the mix: most people got laid off, some people got salary cuts, and almost all job seekers have been seeking jobs since. New job posting adverts are at an all-time low.
The world’s largest jobs website, Indeed, said the lockdown and the trade-off between health and the economy have come at a terrible price. Especially when London is caught in the middle of a third lockdown with a new strain being detected.
Comparing job posting trends it is evident that the UK labor market has sustained the biggest decline in work opportunities.
How bleak is the current scenario?
New job listings and job posting in London have fallen by a whopping 50%, as compared to a 42% decline for the rest of the UK. Incidentally, the jobs that constituted the true reflection of the city’s population density and typical opportunities for work during regular times – retail, hospitality, and leisure – have been hit hardest by the pandemic.
Industries across the board have been impacted, even industries that you intuitively believe are inelastic to the changes in the economy. Police, firefighters, and even healthcare for that matter. Meanwhile, the more obvious ones have expectedly taken the biggest hit – hospitality, sports, and tourism. The figures corroborate with data from the Bank of England, which tells us that social consumption (spending that involves engagement with other beings) – contributes more to the UK economy than in other countries. With tourism and hospitality taking the biggest brunt, social consumption is at an all-time low. The London labor economy is in a period of “deep freeze”. What this means is that it is seeing even lesser activity than in the Christmas week. The perceived dip began before the lockdown was in motion, right after it was announced at the very beginning of March period.
How can the recruitment companies in London come out of this slump?
Clearly, this a pretty sad insight into the past, present and future of the recruitment market in London during the raging pandemic. So, when can we expect a bounce back?
Let us take the case study of the epicentre of the virus. China was the first to be halted by Covid-19, but even after their graph for new cases peaked and began falling for a substantial time, they did not show signs of hiring pickup; despite having now reopened almost the entire social economy. It is safe to assume that this slump will take a while to get out of. We can’t rule it out, but we can expedite the process to a larger extent.
1. Singular hyper-focus
Focus on the areas of thick activity and opportunities freely available. Track and monitor company activity closely. Understand that speed is of the absolute essence as quite naturally the median number of job postings would have come down dramatically. A previous job crisis in Greece taught us that the median life of a job posting could decline from the usual average of a 25 day cycle to as little as 7 or 8 days!
We will never get tired of talking about automation and the role it plays in hiring. How do you hyper focus and make sure time is in your hand at the lowest cost possible? Automate the whole process. The funnel of candidates right from CV screening to interviews to orientation, can be automated. Employing any manual process will decelerate your business. Consider using programmatic advertising to attract a vast talent pool and applications, as well as an automated background screening process. This is just the beginning of the funnel. Integrate your tools wherever possible.
3. Make Right Use of Data
Nothing teaches you more about your business than your won data. Read, analyse, act. Use a parser to retrieve competitor data and studies that are being conducted in the industry. Learn from similar economy crashes from previous pandemics. Data driven decisions will be crucial.
What Can Job Boards Do?
Job boards in London now have to shoulder the responsibility to find the right openings and connect the right candidates to it. The economy cannot revive if employment does not pick up. Job boards need to up the ante to really make the most of the situation. They are almost indispensable right now. Here’s how.
1. Nothing quite like aggregating all open jobs
The primary responsibility for job boards is to collect as many job listings from all sources there is. They should have real-time tracking to ensure not a single opening goes unnoticed and unlisted. It should have enough openings to keep the candidates hooked to the board. Almost exhaustive. Increase the odds of matching the right candidate to the right job exponentially. To crawl the vast amounts of data available, job boards have to implement job scraping tools. Job aggregation alone cannot take care of the job.
They need to have job data management and job data optimization processes to filter and arrange data according to job title, job description, and location. This makes the application process a lot smoother.
2. Gig Economy
The future of work, especially in London, is remote. Job boards need to adapt their features in accordance. With remote working here to stay, candidates have finally had a chance to explore avenues beyond their regular 9 to 5. That means there is plenty of opportunity for recruiters to lap up specialists on a project basis. That would explain how 55% of the US gig workers also do have a secondary full-time employment. This has disrupted the regular job seeker and job applicant relationship.
What updates do we need to make to jo boards to keep up? Firstly, there should be a filter for candidates applying for gig jobs. JobsPikr’s automated tagging system crawls through the job posting and determines if it is remote or not. To take it up a notch, there should be a feature where freelancers can showcase their works and the reviews and ratings they have received for their past work. It adds relevance, authority and hastens the process.
Job boards need to make provisions to integrate third-party applications that allow this. They need to adapt their entire end-to-end operation, including the job wrapping process, to cater to this new demand.
3. Job Feed Customization
Based on data and research, it may not be much of a surprise to learn that the top three employers hiring right now in London are in the healthcare industry. Equally, out of most in demand job roles available, most of them are frontliners as we enter the second phase.
Apart from knowing the keywords for the top industries that are hiring, job boards also need to learn candidate preferences. Certain moving factors that influence the decision a potential candidate makes at each stage. Like, candidates searching for jobs as teachers are drawn to the social life, they can still maintain post work. Similarly, candidates are drawn to public services jobs due to security.
Therefore, an employee’s job feed has to match their preference every time they visit the job board to make the process seamless. How can they do that? Machine Learning. Machine learning algorithms study a candidate’s job search history and break it down to suggest ‘similar’ jobs.
4. Regular Job Posting Updates
The demand-supply gap has never been wider. Job boards in 2021 should employ premium scraping services that crawl a vacancy on any website as soon as it is listed. Recruiters’ websites should be regularly scanned and any change should be immediately reflected in your job board. How do you really make that happen?
Real-time tracking and updating the job board. Real-time deletion of expired job posts is just as important if you want no efforts to go wasted. What else would candidates need? And if all the potential candidates are flocking here, what’s to stop employers to be encouraged to lap up the talent pool and help revive the economy? It is imperative to change with the times or be forgotten. The future is now. At least for job boards catering to the UK market.
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