PageGroup: Tech, healthcare, logistics talents benefit amid pandemic
By Global Business

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we work and probably the future of work. Moving job interviews online may have even made work simpler for both recruiters and job seekers, Steve Ingham, the Chief Executive Officer at PageGroup said.

During the COVID-19 crisis with the stay-at-home order, remote interviewing has become a requirement, not a luxury. So instead of face-to-face meetings, recruiters and hiring managers are now familiar with this "New Normal" of conducting online interviews via apps such as Skype, Zoom and WhatsApp. Many job websites have launched guiding articles like "Tips to ace online job interviews during COVID-19 outbreak."

Data from the Chinese job-hunting platform shows that the number of recruiters who use online interview services increased by 2.3 times compared with the average number before the Spring Festival.

Ingham said this new trend makes it possible for them to transact and meet with clients far quicker than usual.

Hiring over 7,500 people in 36 countries, PageGroup is one of the world's largest recruiting companies founded in 1976, and an experienced intermediary organ to build the bridge between employers and job seekers.

"It was actually easier to get hold of many clients because they were at home, bored and on the end of a mobile phone than it was when they were in meetings, walking factories or flying somewhere," Ingham explained during a previous interview.

Tech, healthcare, logistics talents benefit from the pandemic

Undoubtedly, the pandemic has struck a huge blow to global job market. In the U.S., around 29 million people lost their jobs in April, the job market's worst month in history. Many Americans found it difficult to make ends meet.

Ingham said travel-related sectors saw major layoff, saying "any business activities that are associated with moving around, entertainment or social gatherings have been inevitably affected."

While even during such hard times and severe economic situations, there are always bright spots, which some companies are well-positioned to profit from.

For example, Netflix, which saw almost 16 million new subscribers in the first quarter, certainly falls into this category. With growth numbers more than double what it predicted January, the largest three-month jump in its streaming service's 13 years, the company has proven itself a de facto emerging online service giant.

"There are industries benefiting from this situation, like tech, healthcare and life sciences. And those logistics, supply chain-related and online companies are doing very well. Anything that enables something to be delivered is doing really well out of this whole situation we're in, Ingham elaborated.

Face the challenge and maximize the opportunities

Economists at America's big banks estimate peak coronavirus-related unemployment to hit 15 percent or more in the U.S., with  JPMorgan economists forecasting a peak as high as 20 percent.

Talking about the forecast for the global jobs market for the post-pandemic, Ingham found it hard to predict given it's such an unprecedented scenario during his own professional experiences.

"At the end of the day, I've got a lot of experience of being CEO and running recruitment business, I don't have experience of a global pandemic. And so it is very difficult to anticipate the situation next month, let alone the next year," he said.

"Nobody really knows exactly how fast the recovery will come, what shape it's going to be, while what we need to do is face challenges and maximize the opportunities."

What's certain amid the extremely uncertain situation is the "New Normal" has come and people need to adapt to a more flexible work style. "Although we introduced some flexible working program about five years ago across our business, while a lot of people had always gone to work and found that acceptable, maybe just out of habit. Now they've experienced the opposite and the alternative," Ingham added

"What will see is a blended program moving forward. And there are a lot of clients out there who perhaps would be slower to engage in this sort of more flexible approach. I think that's definitely a trend and I was definitely here to stay as well," Ingham said.