How to prepare for the changing job market?
Talent attraction has been a booming business, with millennials and Gen Z entering the job market. Unemployment rates have been significantly decreasing. In Belgium, the unemployment rate dropped to 6% on March 1st of 2020 and in Flanders this rate was even lower: 3.3% (source: EAK Statbel). We can’t deny the impact on the labour market: the new generation of job seekers have become pickier than ever before. This resulted in an extremely competitive labour market: the war for talent is on!
However, the globally spread Covid-19 virus brought a shock to worldwide economy. Experts say the global GDP is expected to decline by roughly 0.42% in the first quarter of 2020 (Evans, 2020). Of course, this has an impact on careers and the job market. Which industries will boom, which will collapse? What do you need to know before entering the post-corona labour market? Keep reading to discover our predictions!
Impact of the coronavirus
Not only does Covid-19 have a huge impact on global health, it also developed major disruptions in the fields of economy, education and social life. Since March 18th 2020, Belgium has entered “lockdown light” mode with serious consequences for the economy and job market. Government measures caused over a million Belgians to be (temporarily) unemployed. Hiring plans have been drastically cut down, resulting in a huge decrease in job openings. All of this brought a lot of uncertainty to Flemish employees: 1 in 5 fears they will lose their job because of the crisis, as revealed in a study by Ghent University (Baert et al, 2020).
However, the same study reported that employees feel optimistic about the increase in home working. Most of them experience now a better work-life balance. When interviewing HR-managers of different Flemish companies, myCareerCompanion found out that many employees experience less stress working from home because they can avoid traffic, schedule their time more flexibly and work more efficiently. That’s why we expect the trend of working from home and holding digital meetings will continue post-corona. The benefits for employees, environment and economy are undeniable.
Many different industries took a big hit, especially the operation and production industry and cultural, tourism and hospitality sectors. Some have been overflown with work, such as the health care sector, food industry, telecom companies and delivery services. The impact on the economy is unimaginable, but one thing is sure: for many companies as well as individuals this is the time for innovation, creativity, new initiatives and self-development.
The future of work
You’re probably wondering: what’s next? What will the job market look like in a post-corona era? Well unfortunately we don’t have a crystal ball at myCareerCompanion to predict the future, but that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for it. That’s why we’d like to share some of our expectations and forecasting about the job market and recruitment.
Firstly, the job market has turned: before the coronavirus crisis, employers had to compete for new employees in the so-called ‘war for talent’. As many companies froze their hiring plans halfway March, the talent pool has become bigger and more people are actively looking for a job. However, we have no doubt that our economy will resume. Recent figures of VDAB confirm that at the end of April there was already a raise in the number of vacancies published by Belgian employers. Slowly but steady, companies will resume their activities and attract new talent.
For future job openings, we expect employers to mainly be looking for two different profiles. Firstly, we notice that the search for engineers and digital specialists will accelerate. The coronavirus boosted the process of digitalization, not only in our personal lives but also professionally. That’s why employees with IT skills and knowledge about technology are attractive profiles on today’s labour market. Secondly, we suspect that companies won’t stop hunting for great sales and marketing employees, since these professionals will help companies getting back on track.
Moving forward, businesses will focus on digitalization, life-long learning and flexibility. The economy will keep evolving faster than ever. Companies and their employees will have to become even more flexible: dynamic careers, fluctuating working hours, different areas of employability, ... That’s why these ever-changing times call for agile minds and digital natives: professionals who are eager to learn and quickly adapt. Having a proactive, change-oriented and flexible attitude is definitely a strong asset on today’s labour market!
Tips to launch a successful job search
First of all, know yourself. It remains important to know your own strengths and weaknesses and find out what fits your unique set of skills. One way to do this is by going through the myCareerCompanion career orientation platform, which uses five scientifically approved questionnaires to discover your core strengths, natural talents & interests, skills and career & company drivers.
We also advise you to think outside of the box: be proactive and open-minded. If there are no vacancies at the company of your dreams, why not send them your spontaneous application? Even if they are not planning to hire, you end up in their talent pool and they might contact you in the future.
It has never been more important to keep building your skill set.The only constant is change, and professionals who continuously update their skills are the ones in advantage. Here are some skills that are likely to be high in demand in a post-corona world:tech savviness, flexibility, creativity, proactivity and intellectual capacity. Focus on the skills you master and create a plan to close your knowledge gaps or work on your shortfalls. It’s important to invest in your personal development!