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Hiring During Covid-19

​In our most recent job market research, 24 Seven took the pulse of hiring managers working in the Marketing, Creative, Tech, Beauty, Fashion & Retail sectors. The aim was to better understand the pandemic’s impact on their company’s talent retention, compensation, and acquisition. While companies played defense in the early days of the public health emergency, skies are brightening on the employment front as organizations learn to navigate the new normal.

Pandemic Response: Cut & Freeze

A plurality of companies (85%) froze hiring in the early days of the pandemic. Seven in ten employers laid off staff (with the majority cutting 20% of their team or less). Fifty-five percent (55%) furloughed employees. Since then, a fourth of employers have reinstated all or some of the furloughed. Almost half have laid off those who have not been reinstated. However, 80% of employers do not plan to cut teams any further.

The Hiring Horizon

The majority of hiring managers report that their employers are actively hiring once again. One third have restarted hiring for mission-critical roles only, with another 12% hiring for all positions. One in ten employers did not freeze hiring at all during these troubled times, and have continued to hire as usual. More than half are looking for full-time talent, and a third are also adding freelancers. “Depending on the role, we are interested in bringing on experienced candidates for full-time hires, ones who can step in and hit the ground running (as we are still working remotely),” explained a senior level Advertising agency executive who oversees Human Resources, “And for our project and production work, we are adding freelancers to the team.”

Hiring managers participating in the study ranked the following functional areas as the most in-demand right now: Marketing & Digital Marketing, Creative, E-commerce, Sales, and Advertising.

Remote Work is Still the Reality for Most, Requiring Specific Soft Skills

Half of the companies are working 100% remotely, with no plans to return to company office space in the foreseeable future. Over a third was working remotely but have since returned to the office or are phasing in their return. A fraction of companies (6%) has announced no return to the office ever. Hiring managers say that they are screening candidates for soft skills that will set them up for success in a remote environment or a new workplace reality that requires fast pivoting. These include communication, self-starting, collaboration, self-discipline, and professionalism. Time management, problem-solving, flexibility, detail orientation, and positivity round out the top ten desired soft skills.

Compensation Cut Backs

One-fourth of companies decreased salaries during the pandemic and have not restored them. Another 12% decreased salaries, but have since returned compensation to pre-pandemic levels. “Decreasing salaries was a way for us to keep our team intact,” explained one hiring manager, “Fortunately, we have restored compensation, and our team remains whole.” Raises will be a COVID-casualty at most companies; however, as 65% do not plan to issue increases at this time. Bonuses will go undistributed as well at 4 out of 10 companies.

Click here to review the hiring manager study insights further.