COVID-19 pandemic hits labor market, but there are “opportunities”, analysts say


VICTORIA – In the worst job market in decades, job seekers must prepare for what will inevitably be a video interview, say employers and labor market experts who suggest there are opportunities.

Statistics Canada reported that more than one million Canadians lost their jobs at the start of the COVID-19 crisis in March, which is eight times worse than the previous month’s record high during the January 2009 financial crisis.

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate jumped 2.2 percentage points to 7.8% in March, the highest since October 2010. The unemployment figures for April are due in a few days.

But it’s not all bad luck, says Jessica Hodgson, director of human resources at Later, a visual marketing platform in Vancouver with more than two million users.

“There is work,” she said in a telephone interview. “The tech sector is certainly in a good position to handle this. There are also industries where they are looking for more people. Anyone involved in shipping, logistics, supply chain manufacturing, these people are still in business and still expect to be operational. »»

Hodgson recognized the difficulties of many businesses. She said her company had filed 1,500 job applications in March for about 15 positions, but that number rose to 3,500 in April.

Hodgson said that after conducting numerous Zoom video interviews with potential candidates, she had found a preparation sheet. Many companies, including Later, work remotely, she said, adding that online meetings and interviews will not end with the pandemic.

Hodgson said his best advice for a successful job interview with Zoom includes letting people know where you live that you will be on an important call to avoid distractions; turn off other devices that use a wireless network to minimize the risk of a choppy signal; and try to schedule interviews in the morning because the Wi-Fi signals are stronger earlier in the day.

Having a well-lit, sleek, professional-looking space is a must for a Zoom interview, as is dressing properly.

“Looking neat, looking presentable, making sure your hair is straight, your clothes straight, will go a long way not only to be presentable, but also to make you feel like you’re absolutely in an interview and not just home, “Hodgson told me.

Jason Kipps, General Manager of employer branding company Universum Canada, said his most recent data shows that almost 50 percent of companies report a decrease in hiring due to COVID-19, but focuses on new ones. employees was not closed.

Almost 70% of companies offered potential new employees delayed start dates rather than canceling job openings, as was the case during the 2008 global financial crisis.

“What we don’t see is that a lot of these companies are saying,” We’re not going to hire after all, “said Kipps in a telephone interview in Orangeville, Ontario.

He said companies that are hiring and will be hiring soon are looking for people who can thrive in a variety of conditions and adapt quickly to a virtual team environment.

“I think of the successful candidates in this market and it is these candidates who are able to demonstrate their self-management skills,” said Kipps.

Companies that show loyalty and empathy for their employees during the pandemic have a better chance of a good return to the market after the turmoil subsides, he said.

“This is what employees will remember thanks to the way they were treated throughout this crisis. “

Catherine Holt, executive director of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, said the pandemic has decimated the city’s tourism and hospitality industries, but is surprised at the number of available jobs posted by employers.

“I say it’s a strange experience where it’s almost like two parallel economies coming together,” she said in a telephone interview. “We have posted about 200 jobs just since the removal orders and the province’s management to work from home. It’s a fascinating array of jobs. “

Holt said there were obvious job openings in grocery stores, pharmacies, retirement homes and health services, but employers were also looking for cooks, truck drivers, mechanics, cleaners and electronics, construction and gardening salespeople.

“I don’t think it’s a priority when everyone hears so much about the layoffs,” she said.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 6, 2020.


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