OPINION14 April 2021

Research can attract talent after Covid-19

Covid-19 Opinion People Trends Youth

Post-pandemic recruitment will depend on embracing technology, and market research could be well-placed to expand as a result, says Alex Lown.

Hiring people abstract image

It’s easy to focus on the challenges that Covid-19 has brought about; however, it really isn’t all doom and gloom. After a year of life in a global pandemic, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, and we can start to re-centre and look for positive outcomes.

There is a huge opportunity here to capitalise on top quality talent as businesses and individuals alike go through a period of regeneration in the aftermath of the of the pandemic’s upheaval. Periods of recovery always yield increased recruitment – the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that unemployment rates are slowing, a trend that is likely to continue as the economy demonstrates a resurgence.

For businesses, perhaps the most drastic change from the past year has been the way in which the virus has forced most of us, across almost every industry sector, to work remotely. And this has required business leaders to change their mindset, to approach the ‘office’ in a very different way – from recruitment and onboarding, to health, wellbeing and safety.

According to recent research from Gartner, 82% of businesses intend to adopt remote working practices in some form when employees return to the workplace, with 47% saying they intend to move to full-time remote working and 43% to grant flex time. This means the world of hiring is about to change drastically as the pool of talent diversifies across industry sector and geographical location.

The other side of the coin is no different. Recent research suggests that regardless of the pandemic, young job seekers prefer to communicate digitally to the point where they would not apply to an organisation if they considered the recruitment process to be old fashioned.

In the eye of the job seeker, the future of work most certainly bears flexibility at its core. As such, it’s quickly becoming evident that companies must embrace digital processes in order to manage recruitment successfully as we navigate what is hopefully the decline of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Businesses that can capitalise on applying technology to all aspects of organisational processes.such as flexible and remote working will be ahead of the curve when it comes to attracting talented candidates. Similarly, delivering online recruitment strategies like virtual open houses, job fairs or video recruiting will make it easier for organisations to adjust the way in which they run the business in today’s environment, right down to how they recruit and onboard new hires in a remote capacity.

Market research specifically is an industry poised for growth in the wake of the pandemic. We are already seeing market research play an increasingly important role – whether it be to analyse the impact of the global pandemic across various sectors and industries, or to gauge consumer behaviours and sentiment after an unsettling year that has driven huge change in mindsets.

The notable difference in demand, though, is where we see a shift in attention from traditional research methodology to more modern forms of market research that offer a cost-effective, more timely option. It is these more flexible, agile and relevant market research firms with a tech-first approach that will drive a surge in recruitment and offer a real opportunity for fresh talent to enter and forge a career in this space in the years to come.

As we look forward to a new way of working, businesses that can take all of this into consideration, while also taking advantage of the opportunities remote work policies can offer, will be the ones set up for success. For example, there are important factors that are absolutely key for remote recruitment, from virtual on-boarding and training that mimics on-the-job learning to creating a culture of enablement based on trust with your remote workforce.

Beyond this, there are new ways to attract top talent today and the businesses that can quickly adopt remote-specific hiring processes that can transcend previous postcode limitations will be one step ahead.

Just as we have seen organisations that are smart, savvy and forward thinking thrive from adopting and providing employee perks that go beyond traditional and standard benefits – from private health insurance to health and wellbeing initiatives – the way in which today’s businesses are set up to facilitate a virtual office will be absolutely critical in order to attract fresh talent and will undoubtedly have a much more positive impact on young professionals who are looking at career options.

Alex Lown is technology talent partner at Lucid