The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a standstill, engendering a multitude of far-reaching implications. Besides the economic fallout, it has also affected the mental health of hiring and HR decision-makers, a JobStreet online survey involving close to 700 hirers in Singapore finds.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the proportion of employers happy with their job has dropped from 87 per cent to 54 per cent, with the majority of them being local business owners, executive-level decision-makers, and those holding recruitment and HR appointments.
The top concerns faced by employers are as follows:
Financial health of company
- 67 per cent of the respondents are worried about their revenue, profitability, and cash flow. This sentiment is especially prevalent among local small-business owners, who are uncertain about the outlook of the future.
- The negative impact COVID-19 has on the workplace is weighing heavily on employers (49%). Being the bearer of bad news, from having to announce layoffs and salary cuts, has left them psychologically drained.
- Nearly all organisations (93%) had implemented HR changes in response to COVID-19. The most common change was a requirement for staff to work from home (78%), which required employers to urgently set up appropriate IT infrastructure that can support remote working.
- A further 47 per cent had experienced a negative impact on head count, most notably having to impose a reduction/freeze on new hires, and 46 per cent had to reduce staff remuneration.
- 40 per cent of employers found it hard to maintain staff engagement amid remote working. Contributing factors include lack of physical interactions, poorer productivity, and difficulty in staff management.
“Employers have to shoulder the responsibility of leading their companies through the pandemic, and that is a tall order in itself,” said Chew Siew Mee, JobStreet’s Country Manager for Singapore.
“It is thus important that they take good care of themselves first, so that they can more effectively fulfil their leadership duties. The first step is facilitating open communication between managers and allowing them to air concerns on leadership challenges and difficulties with remote working.
“Thereafter, they can strategise on how best to iron out the kinks. It is also important to recognise that working from home blurs professional and personal boundaries. Employers must set time aside for themselves as well as their families, relatives, and friends,” she added.
The resource hub offers tips on how to navigate the unprecedented challenges that COVID-19 has brought on. #WorkNow is a first-of-its-kind feature to help expedite the job matching process by enabling candidates to stand out and get noticed by employers looking to make immediate hiring decisions.
On the road to recovery
While the current situation may be far from ideal, the general outlook for the future is optimistic. The ‘COVID-19 Singapore Report‘ published on Monday (7 Sep) revealed that hirers are expecting an uplift, with 64 per cent feeling positive about their organisations’ prospects, and 63 per cent thinking their industries will rebound.
About one-third of hirers expect to resume hiring in the next six to 12 months. Roles most likely to be in demand in the next six months are in sales/customer service/business development (30%), administration/human resources (19%), engineering (16%), and accounting (15%).
“The hiring scene echoes the Government’s acknowledgement of there being bright spots in Singapore. There are several growth sectors where hiring activity remained relatively healthy in the past few months, such as healthcare, education, banking and finance, science and technology,” said Ms Chew.
“For businesses and organisations, the key to survival is digital transformation. The expertise of talents who can support companies in their digital transformation journeys will likely be in high demand.
“On JobStreet, despite the effects of the pandemic, we have observed an increase in some emerging roles, such as cybersecurity, data analyst, digital marketing, etc. These roles alone have contributed to around 30% of jobs on our jobsite today,” she added.