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Did COVID fundamentally alter the job board market?

As we move into Year 2 of the pandemic, some things have changed. There is not just one, but multiple vaccines that have been shown to greatly limit death or hospitalization due to the virus. Mask-wearing, while still not universal, has become common in much of the world, as has increased hand-washing and social distancing. And – closer to home – the number of employers who have allowed their employees to work remotely has grown substantially.

The big question as the world (slowly) opens back up: will remote work continue to be an accepted and (in some cased) dominant option for workers?

According to a recent survey of knowledge and skilled office workers, about a third don’t want to go back to the office – ever. Interestingly enough, older workers are most emphatic on this. On the other hand, only about 11% of younger workers want to continue remotely.

Another view comes from this survey: 30% of respondents said they would actually quit rather than return to the office. That’s a rather strong statement.

What about the other side of the fence? What do employers have to say? An August 2020 survey of 12,000 employees and their employers worldwide indicated that they had moved about 40% of their employees to remote work. Although individual productivity stayed the same or went up, many employers found that collaborative projects suffered. Over the course of the year, however, employers invested in tech that supported remote work, and most expected that about 40% of their employees would follow a remote work model in the future.

Sounds like a fundamental shift, doesn’t it? So what does that mean for job boards?

  • An increase in remote work actually plays to the strengths of the job board model – job boards allow employers to recruit from a wide geographic area, not just a limited area around the office.
  • Job boards can help employers tag their job posts as ‘remote-friendly’ or ‘remote-only’ – thus targeting exactly the candidates that want that work model.
  • Job boards can help employers support their remote workers by partnering with remote work platforms and tools, provide them guidance on best practices, and ensure that their hiring and onboarding processes work for both in-person and remote workers.

On the employee and candidate side of this model, I expect that the current movement toward online communication, community, and collaboration will continue – and that niche ‘hubs’ will increase.  Candidates will be looking for more ways to interact with like-minded folks in their profession – a gap that hubs can fill.

This is just the beginning of the changes that COVID will drive, I suspect. Will we soon have universal vaccine credentialing? Office workplace ratings regarding their COVID ‘safeness’? Stay tuned…

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