Zoom lunch? Walk in the park? Europe’s Recruiters Adapt To Covid By Reuters

4/4 © Reuters. The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Prague 2/4

By Michael Kahn and John Revill PRAGUE / ZURICH (Reuters) – Trudging through the snow while interviewing someone is just one more day at the office for Prague-based recruiter Blake Wittman, who has adopted new tactics to gain the upper hand during a pandemic that has affected hiring in Europe. market. On a cold January morning, Wittman traded his warm office for a park overlooking the Czech capital’s historic old town to interview a candidate outdoors to comply with strict social distancing rules. Restrictions have made it difficult for recruiters to reach out to potential applicants, whose numbers have been reduced because many people with jobs are sitting down rather than looking to move on. “When Covid came along, it became difficult to find candidates to talk to,” said Wittman, European commercial director at recruiting agency GoodCall. “They are terrified of losing their jobs,” she said of the current mood in the once-hot Czech job market, where the number of job openings plummeted by as much as 70% in the first months of last year when the pandemic took hold of her. . Before the pandemic, Central and Eastern European countries enjoyed an employment boom by offering low-cost business services to multinationals. But what was once a job carousel for recruiters has slowed as workers place more importance on job security over rapid career advancement or changing jobs for more money. Workers in the wealthiest economies of Western Europe are equally cautious about changing jobs, leaving recruiters to find out how they can best help companies find people with the necessary skills in sectors capable of surviving. the pandemic. Video interviews are now de rigueur for any vacancies that arise. But many recruiters go further, hosting lunches at Zoom for more informal talks. They also rely more on psychometric tests, performed remotely, as they cannot examine people in person. “The difficulty is that many companies and recruiters want to meet and get to know the candidates, so now there is much more stress in online behavioral tests,” said Jon Hill, a recruiter based in Prague. Poland’s Malecki Executive Search has adapted by offering a more personal touch for high-end travelers, such as giving advice when needed on local pandemic rules. “Sometimes I have to be a relocation consultant or answer questions about when to wear a mask in Poland or cross a country border,” the director of the Krakow-based boutique firm Szymon Malecki told Reuters. “We had to adapt to new situations on a daily basis.” FROM AIRPORT BAGGAGE TO E-COMMERCE WAREHOUSE The premium on job security over higher pay will mean slower wage growth that will also delay wages in central Europe from catching up with those in western Europe, recruiters say. While accelerating wage increases have long fueled consumer spending and growth on the eastern flank of the European Union, a large wage gap remains. Gross hourly earnings in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland are around 5 euros ($ 6.08) compared to more than 15 euros in Germany, according to Eurostat data. “Before, candidates were willing to consider a move for a little more money, better vision, or sweeter benefits,” GoodCall’s Wittman said. “In today’s world those things don’t matter as much. What matters now is the long-term future.” It is difficult to assess which industries and companies will emerge stronger from the pandemic. And in Europe, the labor market will only fully adapt once governments in the region begin to cut back on state-subsidized permit schemes to protect jobs. But with the initial signs of a hiring recovery in some areas, potential rewards await those recruiters who can already adjust to social distancing restrictions and spot areas of the economy that offer the richest opportunities after Covid. Amsterdam-based Randstad says it is turning to big data to create a vast inventory of skills and is using predictive software to assess where workers are best placed on its books. In a sign of early returns, the world’s largest staffing company reported better-than-expected third-quarter core earnings in October and said it was seeing a significant recovery from revenue previously lost in the pandemic. “It’s not that there is no work,” Annemarie Muntz, Randstad’s director general for global affairs, told Reuters. “Relocating talent has become a priority for many companies and governments,” he said, citing data from the Randstad Workmonitor Report and giving an example of how to move baggage handlers from airports to e-commerce warehouses. Companies also fight harder to keep workers. Swiss staffing giant Adecco (SIX 🙂 said there are job opportunities, but companies must also boost the training of their existing workforce. Adecco has launched training schools in France and Italy to teach skills that could be used in growth sectors. These centers have so far qualified 35,000 people since the crisis began in areas such as digital, language and other skills, said the company’s global president, Christophe Catoir. “People are less willing to move than before, they want to stay in their current jobs,” Catoir told Reuters. He said the number of staff at Adecco, which employs around 15,000 in Europe, who are changing jobs was 20% lower in 2020 than the normal rate. “Workers prefer that part of their career is permanent when they have to pay rent, pay off loans and pay their children.” ($ 1 = 0.8224 euros)