COVID-19 has shaken up a lot of things over the last few months, including the job market. We went from record-low unemployment to record-high unemployment in a matter of weeks, and the demand for workers has shifted to areas that are being directly impacted by COVID-19.
Obviously, the healthcare and retail industries are in the most need of new talent as healthcare workers struggle to keep up with the growing number of Americans sick with the coronavirus. And retail giants like Amazon and Target had to increase head counts to keep up with the growing demand of online retail and curbside pickup.
As pharmaceutical manufacturers work to develop a coronavirus vaccine, the demand for clinical research associates and trial managers has risen by 46%, according to a COVID-19 impact analysis report released by global talent mobility provider Randstad Sourceright.
The report, entitled “how is key talent in the US impacted by COVID-19?” examines how various industries have been impacted, what key jobs and skills have grown in demand during the crisis, and how the candidates who possess those skills are behaving in the current job market.
Pandemic Talent Needs
Key findings include a 38% spike in demand for assistant store managers, highlighting the increased pressure retailers face to keep essential goods stocked amid the pandemic and the trend toward stores reopening their doors as governments lift stay-at-home orders.
While it’s obvious that health care and retail had the highest staffing needs, other industries related to the pandemic also had an increase in hiring. With record-high unemployment comes a need for financial guidance and assistance, and Randstad Sourceright uncovered that financial consultants and insurance underwriters have seen a 50% increase in demand.
Additionally, with the rise in remote work comes the demand for software developers. However, Randstad Sourceright says this has remained steady despite the economic slowdown. Conversely, customer service representatives, engineers, and automotive workers have all seen double-digit decreases in demand.
The report analyzes data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the World Health Organization, job boards, career sites, and social media postings to map the demand for customer service, engineering, finance, pharma research and development (R&D), sales, and software development roles.
Randstad Sourceright combined quantitative demand data and qualitative supply information to provide organizations with a clear outline of which skills to safeguard in the future. These data can also inform what additional recruitment efforts may be needed to manage competition.
“The economic slowdown brought about by the pandemic has forced companies to focus on what jobs and skills are truly essential and most valuable to their businesses,” says Sue Marcus, regional president at Randstad North America. “With this analysis, organizations can gain a detailed, data driven picture of the skills landscape during the pandemic. We’ve also taken a qualitative look at the mindsets and behaviors of candidates working in these job families to provide companies with a more complete talent picture and help them shape their recruitment strategies.”
COVID-19 Impact Analysis Report Highlights
The report identifies the changes in demand for key jobs across six job families between January 2019 and April 2020. It also highlights what specific skills have become most valuable during the pandemic, breaks down jobs in demand by state, and provides an assessment of risk and “remoteability,” which is the ability to move a specific job into a remote work arrangement.
The shift in demand for certain skills will inform how employers hire once they begin to reopen and could signal longer-term trends that recruiters must be aware of. Some sectors with increased demand will become candidate markets, which will make engagement and attraction plans critical. Other sectors may face less competition for talent but have trouble recruiting for specific skills. With the right information, employers will be more prepared to recruit as things begin to return to normal.
Here are a few more key findings:
- Customer service roles experienced the steepest drop in demand from February to March (47%), followed by sales, finance, and engineering roles (all experienced a 34% decrease) and then a 22% decrease in demand for software development roles and a 17% decrease in pharma R&D jobs.
- Financial services (84%), professional services (78%), and IT/telecom (75%) roles are the most “remoteable” and easiest to carry out from home. Employees in other sectors find it impossible to generate output from home, such as construction, where only 6% can work from home.
- The top in-demand skills in each job family were identified as scheduling (customer service); quality assurance (engineering); accounting (finance); chemistry (pharma R&D); retail sales (sales); and Java (software development).
- Each job within the pharma R&D space has seen an increase in hiring, with clinical trial managers and research associates being the most sought after (40% and 50%, respectively). It is projected that the pandemic will accelerate the shortage of talent and increase recruitment activities for these roles.