How Covid-19 has changed the talent landscape

The concept of homeworking – before we were forced into it by the global pandemic – was for many, simply a yearning they knew would never become reality. For some, it was a luxury perhaps only permitted a few times a month whilst others had never considered it.

As many of us have embraced this new lifestyle, lockdown has proved that it is possible to work from home and more flexibily, without a severe drop in productivity.

With that said, does this mean that many of the restrictions around who and where employers can recruit from have shifted?

Whether it’s barriers at the application stage like location, commute time and cost or sacrificies like missing parent evenings, sports days and nativity plays, remote working offers an attractive workaround bringing positive ramifications for both, future talent pools and employers.

If employers were to adopt a more flexible and ‘distributed’ workforce then not only would existing employees (and employers to that extent) benefit but it becomes a serious draw when attracting new joiner.

Parents

If we take current employees who have swapped office desks for their kitchen tables, then research shows many would like to continue to have the flexibility of working from home, if and when a return to the office is on the cards.

Working parents naturally fall into this group with a recent survey by the nursery provider, Bright Horizons , showing many of the 1,500 parents polled realised that large parts of their role could be conducted remotely.

Almost half of parents (48%) who worked in an office before lockdown said they were considering asking for more remote working, with 53% saying they believed flexibility would increase their productivity, and almost two thirds (58%) agreed it would increase their loyalty.

It seems obvious that if employers were to adopt a more flexible and ‘distributed’ workforce then not only would existing employees (and employers to that extent) benefit but it becomes a serious draw when attracting new joiners. And those new joiners no longer need to be within commuting distance – nor potentially even in the same country for that matter.

If Covid-19 has shown us that with the right equipment you can provide just as good a customer response service at home as you can within the office, then think about the impact that can have on recruitment.

Social Mobility

Remote working could also play a positive role in the drive for social mobility. We know many graduates from less affluent backgrounds often struggle with train fares to interviews and assessment centres, which when coupled with the cost of living in the job-centric capital creates a significant barrier for them to realise their career aspirations.

But if virtual interviews and assessment centres become the new norm for early talent recruitment (and I’d be surprised if many graduate recruiters revert back to face-to-face sessions) and people have the ability to work remotely if successful, then those career aspirations might well be able to become reality. 

Volume roles that would traditionally have been thought of as having to be done in an office – call centre workers for example – could also change for the better.

If Covid-19 has shown us that with the right equipment you can provide just as good a customer response service at home as you can within the office, then think about the impact that can have on recruitment.

Employers can not only look further afield beyond the often saturated local market, but they can potentially tap into talent pools who might not have the option to travel to an office – perhaps due to transport challenges, or caring responsibilities, or disabilities. Could that allow for a whole new group to enter the workforce?

Neurodiverse talent

The same would go for neurodiverse talent pools for whom face-to-face interactions during the recruitment process and then subsequently within a traditional office working environment can be enough to put them off applying in the first place. And yet we know this group includes a wealth of untapped skill and intelligence.

Of course, remote working isn’t possible for all business sectors and jobs, nor will everyone want it, but what lockdown has shown us is that by using virtual tools such as Live Chat and video conferencing technology, business as usual has been able to continue.

To sum up, whilst we’d still all prefer a Covid-free world, if one of the repercussions of the pandemic is that it will create opportunities for remote working that extend beyond those already currently in the workforce as well as fresh talent pools, then that surely should be something to embrace and encourage.

If you’d like to find out more about how our Candidate Experience technology can help you reach and engage diverse talent, request a demo or drop me an email at sarah.brown@meetandengage.com.

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