The job search has changed drastically in the past decade or so. We have gone from the Great Recession of 2007, when unemployment peaked at 10%, to an unemployment rate of 3.6% in 2019. Then the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 shook up the job market all over again. COVID-19 has expedited some trends and completely eliminated others. Almost all recruiting and HR professionals agree: it doesn’t seem like the job market will ever be the same again.  Read on to learn how the changing job market —and how your team can adapt their hiring practices.


It Might Still Be a Candidates’ Market

Certain industries have lost more jobs than others during the pandemic. Depending on the industry, there are still jobs to go around. Some businesses are even struggling to hire for key positions. 

In fact, the National Federation of Independent Business found that over a third of small businesses have open positions they haven’t been able to fill. This may be due to many factors. The labor market has shrunk due to women dropping out of the workforce to provide care for their children and parents. Some people were on temporary layoffs at the time of the survey. Additionally, there is still a skill shortage in certain industries, like tech and healthcare. 

In other words, it’s still a candidate’s market in many industries. Your hiring team needs to continue working on approaching passive candidates and honing high volume recruiting strategies.


Remote Work Is Here to Stay

Professionals across the world headed home when COVID-19 hit. Unsurprisingly, working from home allowed the economy to persevere despite the pandemic. And professionals are loving it.

Today, 54% of professionals who work from home during the pandemic want to keep working from home. In general, they enjoy their reduced commute time and increasingly flexible work hours. Plus, 94% of employers report that productivity has been the same (67%) or higher (27%) since employees started working from home. 

In a PwC survey of 669 CEOs, 78% agree that remote collaboration is here to stay. With support from both employers and professionals, your team can expect to see remote work become the norm for years to come.


Freelancing Is More Popular Than Ever

Freelancing platform UpWork ran a study during the COVID-19 pandemic. They found that freelancing was a popular employment option during the pandemic. 

In fact, 36% of the U.S. workforce say that they now freelance. Many of these professionals even reported that they had lower rates of negative impact on their overall wellbeing and financial health during the pandemic. 

Fifty-eight percent of traditional workers who started working remotely during the pandemic have expressed interest in freelancing. In other words, your hiring team can expect to see more freelancers—and fewer full-time employees—looking for positions in the future.


Flexibility Is an In-Demand Skill

Right after COVID-19, employers noticed that their most flexible employees performed better than others who were set in their ways. While every employee has hit some roadblocks during the pandemic, those who are able to adapt performed better in general. 

Forty-eight percent of business and tech executives in 2020 said they wanted to see their employees improve their flexibility and adaptability. Flexible employees are able to learn new skills, take on diverse projects, and adjust their mindsets after little guidance and time. This is a critical skill whether your business has to weather another pandemic or a rebranding project. 

Going forward, your team should look for employees who demonstrate these skills. Flexible employees are more likely to thrive during times of change, which every business can expect at one time or another. 


Video Interviewing Is Here to Stay

Back in 2015, a study found that 60% of hiring managers used video technology for remote job interviews. However, some candidates struggled to use the technology. COVID-19 introduced video calls to nearly everyone.

In fact, Zoom was the most downloaded app for iPhones and iPads in 2020. Video conferencing has been an easy way for people to stay in touch with their loved ones—and coworkers. 

In the future, your hiring team should feel comfortable using video conferencing during the interviewing process. It’s a great way to expedite long interview funnels and remove fiscal and locational bias—ultimately helping your team hire more qualified team members faster than ever before.


Conclusion: The Beginning of the Future

COVID-19 has expedited changes throughout the business world. When it comes to the changing job market, we’ve seen an increase in unemployment rates. However, it still remains a candidate’s market in many industries due to labor shortages. We’ve also seen a shift to remote work, more freelancing, emphasis on flexibility, and a move to video interviewing. Handled correctly, these new trends can help your business hire your dream workforce—more easily than ever before.