How will recruitment change after the COVID-19 pandemic


by Rositsa Velikova, Managing Consultant in Access Consultancy

Employers and employees are currently in a stalemate caused by the coronavirus crisis. In America, it is compared to the terrorist act of September 11, 2001 and the financial and economic crisis of 2008. Other observers go beyond the effect these two events have caused on the world.

What is happening in Bulgaria? How does Europe's poorest economy endure a pandemic, a state of emergency and limited economic activity?

Business owners, employees, and workers are shocked. This is my impression of contact with clients, partners and job applicants. I tried to outline the trends that are already making their way and how they will affect the labor market in our country.

  • Companies that could work online moved into home offices in the early days of the emergency. However, they are mainly in the field of services and although they try to continue as normal, many of their partners and clients do not work normally and accordingly the work on business services has decreased.
  • Small and medium-sized employers are forced to release all or part of their staff because of the uncertainty and lack of clarity on how long the crisis will last and when they will be able to return to normal employment.
  • Large manufacturing companies close indefinitely due to the inability to receive raw materials for their production or to send finished products to their customers abroad.
  • The state introduces additional opportunities for remote registration at the labor office, which will give additional funds to the employees there, as the increased workload due to the flow of new unemployed is expected
  • Job applicants, who until recently have been keen to change their current position, become more cautious and abandon their intention to leave their current jobs; they remain with their current employer in anticipation of some security; they changed their mind because of the uncertainty as to whether a potential new employer will be stable, continue to work and need workers for a long period of time. Usually, the redundancies go first with the redundancies.
  • The percentage of active job applicants is increasing - employees who are on leave become active job applicants and apply for jobs that are still available.
  • Employers freeze appointments and postpone already agreed new appointments for several months.
  • Bulgarians who have worked abroad have begun to return to Bulgaria. Most of them worked with temporary agencies, without any guaranteed hours of work. At the moment when employers stop looking for such workers, agencies cannot provide them with jobs and people cannot earn income to pay for housing and consumables.

What to expect:

  • Remote work requires building and nurturing additional team credibility, which can bring new benefits to companies that have successfully passed the challenge.
  • Owners and managers will see that their employees can be productive at home and will gradually use this opportunity to hire part-time or full-time home-based administrative, marketing, sales, and similar staff.
  • Increasingly, statements from authorities in different countries indicate that the restrictions will be valid until May. More and more companies will close. Highly qualified unemployed people will become more and this will allow competitors who can afford to quickly restructure their businesses to hire them.
  • Returning from abroad workers will enter the labor market, but most will seek wages that are close to the income they had abroad. In a few months, they might consider returning abroad, but will there be work for them there? Some of them have the added advantage that they are fluent in foreign languages ​​and can give this "extra" to employers in Bulgaria who are just starting to expand in foreign markets.
  • Businesses will need people with new skills, such as those active in the online environment, knowledgeable and technology savvy, with more skills and experience in various fields - such as an accountant who can handle reports, analyzes and forecasts, and payroll, labor law, cashier tasks. In addition, multitasking will be appreciated as more expansion into foreign markets will occur through local offices and virtual communications.
  • The employment of workers from non-EU countries will be frozen for now. However, in Bulgaria, we will have free labor for the blue collars' positions, but maybe after 6-9 months when the deadline for benefits from labor offices comes.
  • Bulgarians' access to work abroad will be frozen for at least a few months after the official quarantine is lifted because it is expected that some countries will be chauvinism - they will appoint and tolerate their citizens in employment. This does not apply to seasonal agricultural workers who are still in demand.
  • It is time for companies that have not used outsourcing so far, to do it - accounting, IT, human resources, legal, marketing services can be used at a reasonable cost, which will reduce employee costs. This will bring to the labor market people who are highly specialized and have evolved in one direction. The new situation would force them to learn new skills and professions in order to be fit for the new conditions.

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