Coronavirus (COVID-19), Recruiting

Despite High Unemployment Rate, Only 14% of Companies on Hiring Freeze

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ July jobs report, unemployment fell to 10.2%, while employment rose by 1.8 million. Yet, despite the high unemployment rate, employers say they’re actively hiring during the pandemic. So, where are all the jobs?

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Monster Data for July

Job site has been sharing its employment data throughout the pandemic. Here are the trends it saw in the month of July.

  • Education: July saw some of the highest levels of education job postings since the country entered lockdown in mid-March, nearing pre-COVID levels. 
  • Health care: Registered nurses (RNs), nurse practitioners, nursing assistants, and medical assistants saw upticks early in the month, and RNs and nurse practitioners continued the upward trend throughout the month. Overall, healthcare jobs saw a steady increase throughout July on Monster.
  • Transportation and warehousing: Stock clerks held steady in the top 10 jobs posted on Monster throughout July. Additionally, light truck/delivery saw an uptick mid-month and ended July in the top 10 jobs on Monster. Packers and packagers (hand) are at their highest new job posting volumes in July compared with other months since the start of the pandemic. 
  • Professional and business services: Jobs such as loan officers, loan interviewers, and clerks saw a jump in the second week of the month and stayed steady throughout the rest of the month. Similarly, business operations specialists remained in the top five jobs posted to Monster throughout the month. Positions such as secretaries and administrative assistants, bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing saw fluctuations throughout the month, with a slight uptick by the end of July. 

Monster also shared some of the employee and jobseeker trends it saw throughout July.

  • When asked if they had taken on more work responsibilities amid COVID-19, nearly two-thirds of respondents (60%) shared they do not currently have a job. The 23% who are employed and are taking on additional responsibilities attribute it primarily to staffing decreases within their company. 
  • Surprisingly, of those who are currently employed, the majority (85%) are still considering searching for a new job amid COVID-19, stemming from their desire to have flexibility in their work schedule (47%) and a pay increase (44%). 
  • Interestingly, of those who are unemployed, an overwhelming majority (89%) are willing to consider a job outside of their current industry. (Source: Monster poll conducted among employees, July 24, 2020; 2,607 U.S. respondents)

Candidates felt desperation to find a job in early April and even an urgency to “pivot” industries through mid-May, according to our Monster community of jobseekers. With this trend remaining consistent through the latest poll results, the new reality of finding a job during the pandemic is full of compromise and resilience.

Optimism Remains High Despite Situation

While jobseekers shift into new industries, employers and recruiters remain optimistic about what the future may look like as businesses adapt to the many changes in the market across various industries.

Recruiting software provider Lever recently released its latest report, “The 2020 State of Recruiting Report,” which shows that only 14% of companies are on a total hiring freeze as a result of COVID-19, and 40% believe they’ll emerge post-pandemic stronger, with better strategies and tools.

Some industries are even more optimistic: 48% of respondents in the software industry believe they’ll emerge stronger, followed by those in infrastructure (46%), finance (44%), and retail (43%).

Additional key findings include:

  • Recruiters have kept busy: 37% spent time rethinking their recruiting processes, while 41% cleaned up their recruiting data during slower hiring times.
  • 84% of recruiters leaned more heavily on phone interviews as a result of the pandemic, while 85% of them leaned more heavily on video interviews.
  • 62% agree they will need to hire workers with skills that weren’t needed before; the top new skills required are adaptability (68%), communication (60%), and technology proficiency (55%).
  • 50% said diversity and inclusion initiatives will become more of a priority as companies proactively work to combat racism in the workplace.
  • It’s still far too early to tell what the “new normal” will be in terms of remote work. Only 33% of respondents said remote work will likely increase, with 38% saying it will decrease.

Respondents also see the need for adaptability as a fundamental skill, as well as the importance of more personalized candidate relationships, with 71% saying it’s now more important that candidate relationship management tools be built into their applicant tracking system.

Finally, many are investing in recruiting interactions that will become more personalized and relationship-based going forward, especially in industries like infrastructure, construction and engineering (58%), and financial services (57%).

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