How the pandemic affects staff recruitment

Like most Russian and global companies, Adecco Russia is struggling with the coronavirus slowdown impact. The situation that we are witnessing is truly unprecedented: nothing like this has happened in modern Russian history. And, perhaps, the main difficulty for businesses at the moment is the profound uncertainly of how the situation will develop in the future. This means businesses have to be able to adapt flexibly to the rapidly changing reality.

Furthermore, the current situation is different because the changes underway have penetrated into every business without exception and affected almost every employee, forcing companies to quickly and very flexibly reorganize their standard external and internal business processes, and to create, essentially from scratch, a new infrastructure for working in a distributed environment without a centralized office. Obviously, we are going through a period of tremendous change on the markets. What changes are happening in the labor market today?

Adecco Russia conducted a survey among its clients, job applicants and employees to find out how the labor market fares today. Here are the findings.

Seven out of 10 employers have canceled personal interviews with job candidates, interviewing them via Skype instead.

The change has also affected final interviews, where the company decides whether they hire the candidate or not. This is the first time our company and its clients are faced with this situation – a face-to-face interview at the employer’s office used to be the cornerstone, the most basic element of the recruitment process.

Eight out of 10 candidates also ask about remote interviews both at the recruiting agency and at the office of the future employer.

There have been cases when candidates refused to come to in-person interviews (when they were mandatory and cannot be replaced by a Skype session) or postponed job search for at least 1-2 months knowing that they would have to make many trips and attend many interviews.

Some 50% of our clients and 100% of employers in some sectors have already mandated remote working.

As a rule, these are western companies whose offices in Europe have been working remotely for the past several weeks. First of all, it concerns employees whose responsibilities do not require physical presence in the office. Companies that cannot introduce remote work for technical reasons adopt other measures such as duty schedules and work in shifts to lower the risks for their employees.

It is noteworthy that employees who switched to remote work keep receiving regular salaries. When it is impossible to work remotely, employers offer various options, including a 100% compensation (depending on the employee’s schedule), paid leave in lieu of the annual leave, or leave of absence. However, in April, companies will have to come up with new solutions.  

The good news is that vacancy pool and consequently the labor market remain the same, with no reduction observed. However, in case the situation aggravates, this could result in a fewer number of vacancies in certain sectors, primarily the hotel, restaurant and catering industries due to cafe and restaurants shutdowns and the tourist industry due to closing of borders, hotels and entire resorts.

To sum it up, it should be noted once again that it is now extremely difficult to forecast events that may occur in the labor market even in the short run. Obviously, leaves of absence and sick leaves are only temporary; very few companies are prepared technically and psychologically to embrace a permanent shift towards remote working. So, we will most likely see a change in formats of interaction between companies and their employees.

Many markets and companies will definitely face tough times and we all must make every effort to prepare for them – both in Russia and globally.  

By Nadezhda Lyakhovskaya, Head of Public Relations, Adecco Russia recruitment company

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