Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

How temporary work could offer a lifeline for recruiters during Coronavirus

With the increasing spread of Coronavirus, the world has all but ground to a halt

Many businesses have either frozen or collapsed and thousands have lost their jobs. The pandemic is affecting us all in some way but some sectors have been worse hit than others. Employers in travel, tourism, hospitality and entertainment - industries that rely on freedom of movement and social interaction - have had to make scores of redundancies and are certainly in no position to hire. Where does that leave jobseekers and recruiters working in these fields? What it necessitates is a change of tack - and temporary work could be the solution.  

Thousands of jobs may have been lost but thousands more have been created, largely due to the explosion in demand for online shopping and groceries in general. Businesses that can offer delivery of any goods are increasingly doing so and many of the big chains have embarked on a hiring spree. Recruiters struggling to find jobs to post in these turbulent times might well consider shifting focus to temporary jobs and honing in on the many forms of temporary employment that have recently become available in the jobs market.

While redundancies have been rife in other sectors, supermarkets, warehouses and logistics companies are struggling to keep up with demand and have been urgently recruiting thousands of temporary workers. This has been widely reported on news channels and across social networking platforms and jobseekers seem to be responding. CV-Library saw job searches for delivery driver positions treble in the week 9th-15th March compared to the previous week. Warehouse role searches were up by a massive 132% and searches for retail jobs up by 128%.

JobsTrackR has recorded an increase in job views from job alerts, with ‘Warehouse pickers Needed ASAP’ receiving the highest number of clicks. Multi-poster WaveTrackR has produced data showing transport and logistics as being the sector to receive the highest number of applications (30%) since 16th March, with IT and internet and manufacturing following. Tesco received 300 application per minute on Sunday March 22nd in response to its announcement that it is hiring 20,000 more workers and well over half a million applications have been sent in. The fact that jobseekers are out there, actively looking for work, whether permanent or temporary, will come as a relief to many recruiters. WaveTrackR data has shown applications dipping below the daily average for the period from 16th March over the past week but reaching out to them with temporary job positions could change that.  

The majority of the big supermarkets, including Aldi, Morrisons, Tesco and Waitrose, are desperate to hire more staff to cope with rocketing demand and the fallout from panic buying. Co-op announced that it was creating 5,000 jobs aimed specifically at providing work for the multitude of workers in the hospitality sector that have been laid off, its CEO Jo Whitfield saying that it makes “perfect sense for us to try and temporarily absorb part of this highly skilled and talented workforce… as we work together to feed the nation”.  

It’s not just supermarkets that are experiencing a surge in demand and a desperate need for more staff during the pandemic. The majority of the UK - bar key workers - have now been asked to stay at home and all retail stores except those stocking essential goods forced to close, so online retailers have stepped in to shore the gap. Unsurprisingly, this has led to them finding themselves hugely stretched. Amazon has announced a massive recruitment drive, hiring thousands more warehouse and delivery staff. Food delivery services are also incredibly in demand and Delivaroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats are now looking for temporary workers to meet demand. 

Local farms normally dependant on overseas seasonal workers are experiencing huge staff shortages due to travel restrictions and a tightening of border controls. As a result, farming industry leaders have put out a plea to those finding themselves out of work to apply for temporary jobs helping to pick and pack fruits and vegetables.

The estimation is that over 50,000 jobs have been created due to demand stemming from  Coronavirus-related measures. Many of these jobs take the form of temporary positions, created to fill a need during the course of the pandemic. Temporary work could therefore help not just thousands of jobseekers ride the storm during this challenging time, but it might be a way to shore recruitment companies up too. Focus on the work that’s out there. Delivery drivers, warehouse operatives, supermarket cashiers, shelf stackers, and customer service personnel, haulage drivers, seasonal farm workers - these are the positions that urgently need filling and will help keep the nation running.

Candidates will be just as fearful about how to stay afloat through the devastation that Coronavirus has caused as recruiters are. Searching for a job during the pandemic will be challenging but there are jobs out there, it may just require a change of tack from them and from you as a recruiter. Investigate what temporary jobs your clients might have or be thinking about creating and make it easy for candidates to search for temporary positions by ensuring ‘temporary’ has its own search button within your filters or create a button on your homepage to take candidates straight to a list temporary jobs available. Surviving this crisis will involve thinking outside the box and adapting according to where the need is.  

Emily Buckley, copywriter, Wave