COVID-19 and Employment: How Can We Overcome A Crisis?

La pandémie de COVID-19 créé une crise de l'emploi Publié le 20 April 2020 Par

Since the beginning of the year, the COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects around the world. The number of people who have passed away, lost loved ones and suffered from this horrifying illness is tragic. We must continue to do everything we can to support those who have witnessed this devastation first hand, and give health workers the resources and support they need to treat those who are sick and protect us. We must continue to practice social distancing and follow proper guidelines to reduce transmission. The human toll that this virus has caused must stay first in our minds. At the same time, many people are now facing extreme economic hardship and uncertainty, and are wondering how can we overcome a crisis?

The global economy has been affected by the changes COVID-19 has brought to virtually every country. One report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that 25 million jobs worldwide could be lost during the pandemic. A lot of people are now unsure how they will pay their next bill.

The Situation in Canada

The Canadian economy has also experienced extreme slowdowns and job losses. One million jobs were lost in the month of March alone, and the unemployment rate rose to 7.8% from 4.9% in January. This pandemic has rapidly altered the way we work and support ourselves.

Even if these layoffs are temporary or only in place for certain periods of time, the effect is the same: people are struggling to pay their bills. Even with government aid programs stepping in to help, people are still searching for some form of employment.

Social distancing and isolation policies are hugely important, and need to stay in place until public health officials decide otherwise. Nevertheless, we can still think ahead to the end of isolation and how we can prepare ourselves to reenter a vastly different job market.

Towards the End of Isolation

If we ever start to feel a little bit stir-crazy, we have to remember that isolation and distancing will not last forever. While absolutely necessary right now, there will be a time when we can start to slowly return to something approaching normal. There is no set date, and it’s very likely that this process will be gradual. The list of essential services may be expanded, for example, allowing some to return to work where proper distancing can still be practiced.

The Prime Minister has indicated that Canadians may be able to slowly return to work over the course of the summer, provided that we continue to practice isolation in order to support our healthcare system.

The truth is that economic recovery will not happen overnight, and in fact will take months if not years. During this time, people will still be looking for job opportunities in a changed workplace and labour market.

Preparing for a Different Job Search

We can take this time now to think about how to succeed in the new job market, and rethink some of our basic approaches to job searching. This will put each of us in a better position to understand our options and find work once isolation policies are gradually loosened.

Jobillico’s Advice

Due to the fact that Jobillico works with both job seekers and employers, we have a unique perspective that allows us to see the different challenges applicants will face in a changed job market. We want to help you take action, and provide whatever information you need to find a job during these difficult times and the slow recovery period that will come after. Here are some steps that you can take:

  • Keep applying for available jobs
  • Consider different types of employment
  • Continue educating ourselves
  • Expand our professional networks
  • Update our CVs

Keep Applying

We have previously addressed the challenge of recruiting during the current crisis.There are sectors and industries that are still hiring, or have not experienced a decrease in recruitment level. Certain sectors, such as those now defined as essential, have actually started to recruit more employees in order to meet urgent needs.

If you are looking for a job, keep applying! There are available job positions for qualified people, and you can still fill out job applications and get your name in front of recruiters. You will likely have to refine your job search, and target specific roles in essential sectors but you will find available positions.

If you find a job posting but aren’t sure if it is still available, don’t hesitate to reach out to the company or the recruiter directly. The financial and recruiting situation for a company can change quickly, and it is always a good idea to get as much up-to-date information as possible.

There are challenges ahead, but you can still find a job that’s right for you.

Consider Temporary Work or Self-Employment

This crisis will force many companies to reconsider their employment needs. If so much is still uncertain, it’s possible they may only offer short term employment options or other similar arrangements. While not idle for job seekers, these are still available job positions that can be filled by those willing.

Job seekers may also have to rethink how they offer their services. Temporary positions or multiple part-time positions may become an unfortunate reality for many. If you find yourself in several temporary positions, make it work to your advantage as much possible by building professional relationships and gaining experience. It may even be possible for you to market yourself as a consultant, a form of self-employment offering insights and guidance in your field.

Expand Your Network

Social media was already a daily part of our professional and personal lives for many, and the current crisis has turned it into an important way for people to stay connected while we isolate and distance ourselves. During this time, we can expand our networks and connect with other people.

Seek out those in your field who are experiencing similar circumstances. You can connect, share information and help each other find new opportunities and resources. There are many job postings circulating on LinkedIn, Jobillico and other recruitment sites. This way you can look out for each other and recommend new job opportunities.

If you are unsure how to start this process, this article from our colleagues at Proxima Centauri can help you learn more about the basics of using social media and networking to find new job opportunities.

Keep Learning

Continuous learning is one of the keys to professional success and, for many, personal happiness. This is an important HR trend that many workplaces have finally been embracing. 

As a response to this period of distancing and isolation, many online courses, webinars, tutorials and other training materials have been made available for discounted rates or entirely free. We can use this period for professional growth by undertaking new training and researching in our fields. We can learn more about our sectors and prepare to return to work armed with the latest knowledge to take advantage of the newest trends.

Learning doesn’t just have to be work related. We can undertake training and learning in a subject we simply have an interest in, even if it doesn’t directly impact our work. Learning new things about any topic is a great way to keep our brains healthy and our minds active.

Revamp Your CV and Cover Letter

It’s always a good idea to maintain an up-to-date CV and cover letter that accurately reflects your professional skills, and your unique work experiences and achievements. These are an important part of the job application process, and you should always tailor them to match the role you are applying for.

If you haven’t done so recently, this is a good time to review your CV and existing cover letters, updating the information and highlighting all new achievements. You can research how to edit your cover letter to reflect the realities many companies will be facing as we return to work, targeting specific types of jobs that your research indicates will be available. Be sure to update references and contacts, and offer to be a reference for colleagues who are also looking for a new job. We can put in a good word and support one another as we re-enter a changed job market.

In Conclusion

We are all facing a lot of uncertainty during this challenging time. We must always remember the devastating effects of COVID-19 and keep those experiencing them first hand in our thoughts.

It’s unclear when it will be safe to return to work, but it is certain that the job market will look very different for the foreseeable future. Right now, there are a few steps that we can take to prepare ourselves to find new jobs when the time comes. By continuing to apply to jobs, reconsidering the type of employment we are looking for, educating ourselves, expanding our professional network and updating our CVs, we will be better prepared to apply for new jobs and return to the workforce as soon as it is safe.