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A year without seasonality?

For many job boards, seasonality in hiring demand is a fact of life. Demand may drop during the holidays, or the dead of summer, or perhaps in the fall or spring. Or…it may rise during those periods. It just depends on what particular niche or location you serve.

Right?

Well, maybe not this year. Or at least, maybe not for some of us. Why? Well…

  • Over 700,000 people died from COVID over the past 18 months. Not all of those were employed – but many were.
  • Untold millions were abruptly sent home in March of 2020 – and found that the break gave them time to consider whether or not they even wanted to return to their old jobs. Guess what? Some retired, some stayed remote, and some chose another profession or employer. 
  • Right now there are lots of open jobs – but not enough people to fill those jobs (even if they wanted to).

The end result? Employer that used to have the luxury to ‘hire when we need to’ are now frantic to ‘hire anyone, anytime‘. Think of employers that operate at the bottom of the wage food chain, such as retailers, day cares, restaurants, on-demand transportation, and non-profits. No matter what their ‘season’ is, they are hiring – because they have no choice. And don’t forget employers that create unpleasant or abusive work environments – they can’t get away with this type of behavior as easily. Some are shutting down. Others are making do with less. Still others are trying to migrate to new work models, including those that contain more automation or less hands-on customer service.

In other words, for many employers, seasonality has disappeared – at least for now, and possibly for many months to come.

What does this mean for the job boards that were tuned to hiring seasonality? In the short run, it means that they are turning over every stone to find job seekers for their employers. Perhaps they’re partnering with training tools companies or educational institutions to funnel new graduates or career switchers into their first job. And perhaps they are reaching out to audiences they once ignored – including job seekers from different cultural or socioeconomic backgrounds. In other words, in the near terms these job boards are having to innovate.

What about the long term? Honestly, that’s hard to say. Many of the quick fixes – such as increased immigration – face political or bureaucratic hurdles. And don’t forget – almost all developed nations are facing declining birth rates, which means that there will be fewer workers unless they actively attack the problem. Job boards can’t fix the demographic problem – that’s way above their pay scale! So what can they do? Again, innovate. If the market changes, change with it. If job seekers aren’t actually ‘seeking’, then dig into the next level – identify the next generation of workers for these industries, and tap into them before they are looking.

It’s a big change in thinking – but in a world without seasons, it may be your only alternative. Something to think about!

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