Job Seeker Advice: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Labor Market

A young red-headed woman with a surgical face mask and a winter coat looks into the camera.

It isn’t a secret that COVID-19 ravaged the business landscape. Millions of Americans became unemployed in a matter of weeks, many losing their jobs as companies had to close their doors due to shelter-in-place orders.

Even as the strictest restrictions began to lift, many remained in place. Gathering size limits devastated many entertainment and hospitality companies. Households reeled in spending to protect themselves financially. Businesses saw demand slow, an event that impacted not just that company but its suppliers and vendors as well.

Figuring out how to navigate this ever-shifting landscape is challenging. If you want to make sure you can keep your career on track, here’s what you need to know.

The Slow Economic Recovery

While unemployment numbers have improved greatly since the height of the coronavirus layoffs, many areas and sectors are still suffering. Additionally, some of the unemployment numbers decline isn’t a sign of economic recovery. Instead, a portion was caused by people choosing to exit the workforce entirely, officially removing them from unemployment statistics.

It is true that progress is being made. However, with some regions already seeing a resurgence, it isn’t clear whether the economy will continue to improve or will see another decline.

Shifting Priorities

Today, companies have different hiring priorities than they did before the pandemic. For example, many businesses scrambled to secure the tech talent they needed when shelter-in-place orders went into effect. With the right technical team, companies could support a remote workforce with greater ease, causing them to heavily shift their focus into the IT arena.

In some cases, that shift meant moving away from hiring entirely. Instead, companies began investing in technologies that were suddenly necessary, causing them to delay expanding their staff or filling existing vacancies.

The Ending Unemployment Benefits Tidal Wave

In many states, regular unemployment benefits last approximately six months. While the CARES Act provided the ability to extend benefits for longer, that doesn’t mean many professionals aren’t reaching the end of the benefits eligibility.

As more unemployed individuals get closer to the end of their benefits, they may become more adamant about finding new opportunities. Additionally, they may be open to positions that they would typically pass over. For example, a person who was previously focused on full-time positions may start considering part-time jobs. Similarly, a professional may start exploring roles below their level of expertise.

This can create increased competition among job seekers. Not only could this make it harder to find a job in the coming weeks or months, but it could also lead to wage decreases. Companies may take advantage of those how don’t just want a new position but need one, causing them to offer less.

What Job Seekers Can Do to Navigate COVID-19

First and foremost, anyone who is actively seeking a job today or may need one in the near future needs to seek out new opportunities immediately. Hiring processes take time, and competition may be fierce. As a result, it might take longer to land a new job that it was prior to the pandemic.

Also, it’s wise for job seekers to be adaptable. Along with looking for permanent positions, being open to temporary opportunities is wise. With a short-term role, you can secure an income, giving you more time to find your dream permanent position. Additionally, some temporary jobs may go permanent if you really shine.

If you need to find a position fast, the staff at GSG Talent Solutions can help. Contact us to learn more about our open positions and see how our services can make landing a new job easier than ever before.


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