How have job searches changed in 2020? - Spare Staff Blog

How have job searches changed in 2020?

How have job searches changed in 2020?
Sharon Lee

These days it seems like every article starts with “in these unprecedented times”. It’s getting a bit repetitive I know, but I don’t know what to tell you, these are unprecedented times. The coronavirus pandemic has made us change a lot.

To prevent the spread of coronavirus, we’ve had to change a lot. In the way we live, the way we socialise, and more importantly, the way we work. When the way we work is so different than what used to be (which seems so far away now), it also affects our job searches. Obvious things like remote work and flexible hours are what comes to mind immediately, but the evolving structures of work can also be a major factor of such change.

To get a better idea on how to adapt to finding a job in 2020, we need to first understand how the work has changed. This change informs the structure and needs of a workforce. In this article, we’ll be looking at how all these changes to the workforce influences the experiences of finding a job today.

In 2020, we are working differently, but how?

Remote work on the rise

Social distancing rules and practices have taken most of us out of the office and back into our homes. Working from home has become quite the norm. We’ve become accustomed to taking zoom calls in our sweatpants or looking into buying barista level coffee machines just because we miss the taste. It’s just our way of life in this “new normal”.

Because of social distancing, work from home jobs are gaining popularity. It took a period of time to adjust, but more and more companies are adapting to working from home. This brings things to a digital space, where communications are all done through Google suite or Microsoft Teams. Who knew that a whole in person meeting could’ve just been a few emails?

Companies are adopting more flexible work models

Man and woman working in an open workspace

To save money in a coronavirus-induced recession, a lot of companies are taking on contracted workers over full-time workers. If there ever was a theme to 2020, it would be “contingent”. This applies to most workplace situations, with companies switching to more fluid forms of a workforce. This gives the company a cost-effective solution for more flexible work.

Different work models have also emerged during this time of change. Some of these include talent sharing, or models where employees work on their own terms and get paid. This offered a different kind of job satisfaction as employees continue to adjust to and manage new routines.

Employers have more social responsibility

During these trying times, a lot of companies are providing more support to their employees. We’re not just talking about technical support for work from home employees, but things like physical, mental, and financial assistance. More specifically, we see companies providing better sick leave, childcare and financial assistance, and general support for the emotional wellbeing of employees.

Other than employee assistance, we also see a trend in companies shifting their focus to servicing the community in combating the pandemic. Companies are adding services that aid the community to their usual services. Things like breweries manufacturing hand sanitisers, or clothing stores selling fabric face masks are some examples of this. Some companies may also offer free community services or contribute to pandemic relief funds.

With this said, more and more companies have to take on a bigger role to support the community. It’s also a great way for them to positively build on their image as an employer, and altogether as a company. How a company has reacted to the pandemic can greatly affect how their employees and potential employees see the company. Employees want to be involved with a workplace that is adaptive, and a place where they can feel heard.

Companies are restructuring

New work models come with a push for better ways of organisation and collaboration. Companies worked to restructure their process and their usual practices. As a solution to better organisation, new roles have emerged, giving way to better productivity and innovation. Roles like product owner and user researcher are two of these new roles that came out of this process. We also see a push for diversity in this restructuring process, where talent from different backgrounds can foster new ideas.

Because of the development of new roles, there’s a growing shift on the focus of skills over roles. It all depends on the skills that employees have that are suited for an opportunity, rather than a specific role that they are looking to do.

So how have job searches changed in 2020?

Job seekers want to work from home

Woman working while her kid is playing

People cautiously social distancing or parents busy with young kids at home are more open to work from home opportunities. It also gives them a level of freedom to work on their own terms from the comfort of their own home.

This is also reflected in a number of online job boards, where there are added search options for “remote” or “work from home” jobs. Job seekers are looking for more work from home jobs, and at the same time, employers are posting specifically work from home jobs. It certainly makes things easier for your job search, when you’ve got the option to specify what you need.

New work models to consider

With the new work models that some companies offer, you might want to consider ones that best suit your needs and working styles. It could be a great opportunity to try out something new that could really help you work smarter and more efficiently.

During a job search, some companies may be able to offer different work models, or open to negotiating. Do your research and don’t be shy to ask about these models when you’re interviewing for a job or negotiating a job offer.

Employees want more from their employers

Because of the social responsibility that companies have during the coronavirus pandemic, employees tend to expect more from their employers. They’d want to know whether the company supports their employees, from their physical and emotional wellbeing, to specific financial assistance.

How a company presents themselves to the public is also something a potential employee looks at during their job search. Whether a company backs up their employees and the community is certainly something to learn about when looking for a job.

New roles to prepare for

The new roles that come out of restructuring may seem unfamiliar to job seekers, but it simply is a change in packaging. New roles add to a more diverse and innovative workflow, where one’s responsibilities are regrouped into a new category for better productivity.

So when you’re looking for a job, pay attention to these trends. You might be a good fit for job titles that you aren’t familiar with. These days employers do tend to focus more on the critical skills that one needs for a role. So you might want to do some restructuring of your own. Present yourself as someone who can anticipate needs and cater to them.

The final word

Transparency and adaptability are two key qualities to work on in the current job market. Things are ever-changing and will continue to change, so you might want to keep yourself educated and in the know.

Need career advice on how to build the right job profile and find your dream job? We at Spare Staff can help. The Spare Staff blog is where you can advise you on your job hunt to building a career.


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