The lockdown is over. Measures are being relaxed. But, where does that leave us? In some ways, pretty much where we were before. It has, however, totally reframed the way we think.
In Switzerland, despite some financial stresses, companies require talent. There remains a significant skill shortage across the country. But after emerging from the biggest work-life experiment in human history, change is in the air. The way we work and hire will never be the same again.
Digitalisation will play a big part in this change. This is not a new phenomenon. It’s been with us for a while. In the last couple of decades, it has ushered in the birth of the internet, smartphones and ecommerce. It has also had a huge impact on the job market.
Here are five reasons why the job market will change dramatically with digitalisation.
Before the age of the internet and social media, jobs were posted on bulletin boards in local shops and newspapers. CVs were faxed and mailed by post. The only way to contact a candidate was by landline in the evening, when they were at home.
This was fine for low-skilled work, but an absolute headache for any job that required just an ounce of skill. Nowadays, it's possible to view hundreds of candidates with a few mouse clicks. Of course, it's still challenging, as the skillset required from candidates has increased significantly.
Nevertheless, recruiters now have access to millions of CVs through platforms such as LinkedIn. Access like this was unthinkable a couple of decades ago. Moreover, it offers the opportunity to approach anyone, even if that person isn’t actively looking on the market.
Technology and jobs have increasingly enjoyed a symbiotic relationship: laptops, remote working and most recently, video conference calls have become important tools of work. Yet, the thought of automation taking over, has ignited fears among some, of mass structural unemployment.
In reality, more jobs have been created in Switzerland than lost thanks to automation over the last 25 years (according to a study by Deloitte AG). For the recruitment market, this means an increasing flow of fresh new hiring mandates to work on.
This is a trend that is likely to continue and the structural transformation of the job market may well accelerate. While certain jobs will be taken out of the market, a lot more newer and even higher skilled jobs will be added back. Consequently, an even greater skill shortage will be experienced.
Digitalisation and technology have created a huge number of new jobs. What frustrates employers and recruiters today is the widening skill gap created from rapid technological progress and innovation.
Many companies are desperately searching for the right people in an ever-shrinking talent pool. The scattergun approach to advertising that recruitment firms used in the past needs to be replaced with sophisticated profiling of candidates prior to screening.
The other challenge lies with attracting the right employees. Nowadays, employees require more than just a pay package. They also want to develop, so they can enhance their employability in the future. At the same time, they expect a healthy work life balance.
The employer brand – the employer's reputation as a place to work – will therefore become increasingly important. It will be essential for maintaining employee motivation and productivity. If achieved, they will be able to both recruit and retain talent.
The rise of digitalisation has ushered in the information age. Advanced data techniques are now being used to understand who the best candidates are. Techniques such as search engine optimisation (SEO) and key word density analysis are being applied to job postings to boost their visibility on job portals so they attract the right people. Social media ads are becoming increasingly sophisticated – recruiters are using advanced marketing techniques to boost advert visibility. Meanwhile, AI and big data technology are increasingly being used to track down the best talent and rapidly screen the universe of potential hires.
Companies now have access to powerful technology, which was once the preserve of government agencies. During the screening stage, many companies use software that use algorithms to study online profiles and social media platforms.
By the time the candidate has their first interview, a huge amount of information about them has already been collected by the company that they have applied to.
The decentralisation of work has already begun. More people will be working remotely in the future, thanks to the change in mindset that the coronavirus has provided. Many companies have found that operating in this way costs far less and offers a lot more flexibility. Desk space costs a considerable amount of money and there are significant benefits from having a digitalised and remote workforce.
This trend was already underway prior to the coronavirus pandemic. However, this lockdown will dramatically accelerate the decentralisation process.
Consequently, the way companies recruit in the future will change. For instance, with a decentralised workforce there are no restrictions on geography, which vastly increases the talent pool available. Nowadays, thanks to technology, companies can build agile and remote teams that can operate with ease.
Digitalisation continues to disrupt the job market. There will be a continuous calibration of the hiring process as recruiters and employers evolve with the times.
Technology plays an important part of this transition. It will empower the hiring decision process and simplify the search for talent. Consequently, the workplace environment could potentially be a much more productive and an exciting place to be.
However, none of this will happen unless we succeed in closing the skill gap. This will involve shifting employees into high-skilled roles that previously didn’t exist before. Digitalisation will create both these roles and the transition process. It’s just a matter of time before this new world emerges.