The current state of the job market

Over the past three years, the job market has not been strong. In the past year, with the onset of the Covid pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, the economy has been negatively impacted. This has had a direct negative impact on the job market. As a recruitment agency, Pro Talent has noticed a few specific changes and trends which we would like to share.

There has been a 15 % to 20% decrease in market related salaries. Many companies either cannot afford to pay the previously high salaries they were paying and others are using the high rates of unemployment as a reason or an opportunities to offer lower salaries.

In the past year, we have seen many employers retrench their older staff members who are approaching retirement age and who are expensive due to their many years of service and concomitant annual increases which have led to inflated packages. Some companies have done restructuring and have chosen to employ more junior, less expensive staff for roles previously filled by senior and expensive individuals.

Due to the fact that there is an abundance of quality available candidates who are available to start work immediately, we are seeing an increase in demand from our clients for contract staff for a period of an initial few months with a view to going permanent if the candidates perform satisfactorily. This approach is relatively risk-free on the part of the employer who is ostensibly hiring the contract worker on a working interview basis, which is a very effective way of assessing performance, character and skill.

There has been very little interest from employers in taking on learnerships. This could be due to the fact that learnerships take up a fair amount of management time and energy and that in the beginning, the learners take some time to become productive and add value. It appears that employers are focusing on mission critical recruiting over nice to haves.

There has been a huge drop in demand for administrative staff. This could be due to the fact that more and more managers are having to work from home and handle their own admin duties. It could also be because admin roles are support roles which are not direct income earning roles and it is hard for cost-conscious companies to justify these costs.

Highly specialized roles are the focus area for recruiters and hiring managers. We are living in an era of the specialist. People with high level, industry specific skills, related qualifications and experience are in demand.
Companies don’t want to train juniors. They are prioritizing the recruitment and selection of candidates who already have the required skills and abilities and who can hit the ground running.

There has been a huge increase in retrenchment. Companies are choosing to retrench the under-performers. No self-respecting cost-conscious company can afford to keep dead-weight anymore. It also appears that during the lockdown and subsequent work from home situation, some companies have easily been able to identify which staff are adding value, volunteering for extra responsibilities and making themselves indispensable as opposed to those who have chosen to go under the radar and get away with as little productivity and engagement as possible.

Companies are interviewing more on Zoom, due to this there are extra interview rounds. Instead of 2/3 rounds of interviews some companies are doing 4 or more rounds so that the candidate can meet with different people. Employers are being very careful not to make expensive hiring mistakes.

Candidate who are not confident with technology for a video interview are being penalized. Those who are comfortable with Zoom technology and with video marketing are definitely making better impressions and are being favored by potential employers.