The coronavirus pandemic changed the way we work, with homes becoming virtual offices and meeting rooms. The pandemic also led to innovative approaches for hiring new employees. As per a survey that included over 500 recruiters, 90 per cent of the respondents made adjustments to their hiring strategy. “During the lockdown, 51 per cent of staffing professionals interviewed a candidate via an online platform and 42 per cent extended an offer remotely,” according to the report by thestaffingstream.com.
According to a research by Jobvite, digital communications tools such as artificial intelligence job outreach programmes are growing rapidly. It said 58 per cent of the recruiters are now using social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn to connect with the candidates.
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Hybrid working model to stay this year
Work from home (WFH) became the most popular and a common corporate term during the pandemic. As per the recently conducted Naukri Hiring Outlook survey, 47 per cent of recruiters stated that they are working from home at present. A significant 69 per cent of them felt that employees were equally or more productive with a WFH arrangement. Further, 60 per cent of job seekers preferred to have a mix of both WFH and office working options.
While Google was the first global tech giant to announce work from home for its employees when the coronavirus outbreak was reported, Twitter allowed its employees to work from home forever if they wish. Facebook has extended the WFH policy till July 2021. Tata Consultancy Service recently announced that by 2025, 75 per cent of its employees will work in remote mode.
Shashi Kumar, who works at TCS, said, “The office work culture has more cons than pros, as the additional time spent apart from working hours never helps in an employee’s productivity. In work from home mode, even if you are spending more hours than your scheduled eight-hour work, it adds to your productivity and company’s growth at large.”
This indicated that while the office is here to stay, greater acceptance of remote working would pave the way for a hybrid- working model in the future.
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Change in hiring preference
The hiring for remote jobs has increased three-fold as compared to pre-COVID levels this year. Another interesting trend observed was the spike in remote job postings for freshers. “The job postings for freshers increased by 157 per cent from April to May, and 364 per cent increase from April to August – a reflection of the ongoing change in the mode of work,” Sashi Kumar, Managing Director, Indeed said. The leading roles for freshers were in the areas of administration (14 per cent), tech software (10 per cent), customer servicing (8 per cent), marketing (5 per cent) and sales (4 per cent), Kumar said.
The hiring priorities have also changed due to the pandemic with companies replacing the vacancies of permanent staff with temporary/ contractual workers. A survey by leading research company Gartner revealed that 32 per cent of organisations are replacing full-time employees with contingent workers as a cost-saving measure.
In the same ways, the job seekers are also looking for part-time roles, freelancing to gain experience in their domains. As per Naukri.com, picking up work on a project basis to strengthen the resume will be key and will become a tool to network with prospective employers too.
Remote hiring trend picks up
The companies are expected to continue recruitment virtually in the coming year owing to the pandemic. Nearly 1 in 2 employers hired only virtually during the pandemic, as per job search site Indeed.com.
The Human Resource (HR) experts recommended that candidates should be comfortable with the virtual interviews and web-cam.
Sheila Berry, HR manager at Dreamtech said, “The company has conducted over 100 virtual interviews in the past eight months, and the interview is being tested on the basis of his/her professional body language and approach. Most of the candidates show a very casual approach such as improper dressing, and a poor network is a common snag faced during the conduct of the interview.” The company has till now hired 30 candidates — most of them fresher — during the lockdown, the HR of Bangalore-based startup said.
In-demand skill sets
As work from home is now a reality, most of the digital-based jobs are likely to continue in remote mode in post-pandemic years. Therefore, up-skilling will be the key to employability in the years to come. More than 50 per cent jobseekers surveyed by Naukri.com confirmed that they are focusing on self-development through up-skilling, brushing their domain knowledge and taking professional help in building their resumes.
Most online learning platforms have witnessed an increase in registration for courses like machine learning and artificial intelligence. As per the education technology platform Great Learning Academy, 41 per cent learners on their platform are working professionals while 28 per cent are recent graduates. The rest 31 per cent are undergraduates. Out of the working professionals, 74 per cent of registrations were from professionals below the experience of three years, 6 per cent from professionals between 8-12 years of experience, and the rest is divided equally between mid-level (3-5 years) and professionals in leadership positions (12 years and above.)
“The pandemic has made people realise that the skills needed by industry are very different from what they possess. With people losing jobs, fresh graduates finding it hard to get the vacancy of their choice. With pay-cuts happening across industries, people have spent more time on online courses than ever,” said Hari Krishnan Nair, co-founder, Great Learning.