Caption: How the Coronavirus is Affecting Recruitment7 min read
Amidst catastrophic bushfires in Australia and nerve-racking strikes in France, the first case of the coronavirus jumping from animals to humans happened on the 31st of December 2019. A rather unpleasant way to kick-off the New Year! However, the disease isn’t just setting off alarm bells for health reasons, it is also having a huge impact on the global economy and various types of recruitment. Depending on your field of work, the panic surounding the virus is either good or bad news when it comes to the job opportunities. So let’s have a closer look at those who could see their career soar or sink.
An International outbreak affects everyone
Since spreading outside of China, the coronavirus has become an international health issue. When the virus was first detected, people continued to travel, unaware that they were infected. As the gravity of the situation became more and more apparent, international workers wanted to return home, which also contributed to the virus spreading. All over the world, employees have been repatriated to their home countries, and there have been positive diagnoses upon arriving in Europe.
Anyone looking to start a job in Asia or looking to move from China to a foreign country for work can tell you that the coronavirus has impacted their plans. It seems rather risky to embark on a trip when you could be running the risk of infection. And companies hiring from China must also be on the lookout for any potiential risks concerning health. That said, China is a big country and it would be irrational to assume everyone coming from the Asian region is somehow in contact with the virus. So despite fears, the lesson is to remain calm and take precautions, like you would for the flu for instance.
RECRUITMENT IS UP FOR SOME
A new hospital requires manpower
One way to protect and contain the virus is to provide the necessary facilities to treat it. That’s why, over an incredibly short timeframe, Wuhan commissioned the contruction of a new hospital. From the 23rd of January to the 2nd of February, engineers, builders and government officials worked tirelessly to erect an emergency hospital of 25,000 square meters with 1,000 beds: the Huoshenshan Hospital. Furthermore, an expected 1,400 military medics of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will be on call to treat the new patients. In just a few weeks, the coronavirus has created both intense short-term and long-term work for people employed in construction and government. As the biggest city in Central China, these fields already required a large amount of staff, but the virus has upped the ante, and the demands in recruitment. Only time will tell what other buildings and regulations need to be created to accommodate patients, professionals and businesses. As it is, another hopsital is already underway, the Leishenshan Hospital.
More medical professionals are needed
A brand new medical facility means doctors and nurses are required to staff it. But the need for medical professionals is not just present in China. The bordering countries, the European countries and even other continents have felt the urgency of employing more medical personnel. Most notably, Greece has announced it will accelerate the recruitment of staff for hospitals, labs and and entrance gates.
This brings us to another area where more professionals are needed: research. As the number of infected people rises and we continue to question the origin of the virus, not to mention its structure, more scientists are working around the clock. Luckily, there is an Institute of Virology in Wuhan so the local professionals are already in the best place to analyse the virus. Thanks to their own lab equipment, countries around the world are also lending a helping hand and examining the patients in close proximity.
BUSINESS IS DOWN FOR OTHERS
Reduced travel means less flight staff
Cathay Pacific has made headlines after asking its staff to take unpaid leave due to the coronavirus. Hong Kong is just one of the many Asian countries feeling the devastating economic impact of the disease. Not only have flights been grounded, but people have avoided traveling to the country in the first place. In fact, the South Morning China Post states that the drop in flights is around 50%!
Even if we have mostly heard about Cathay Pacific, they aren’t the only ones feeling the loss of business. Other local airlines have also had cancellations and a drop in bookings. Furthermore, any business involved in travel and airports, even ones halfway across the world, have experienced the international fear of being in an enclosed space with potentially ill people. There is still work though for anyone in a position of security, because passengers on flights with sick people need to be tracked down and examined. So the tasks have just shifted rather than disappeared.
Working from home keeps you safe
In other airline related companies, one solution is to send everyone home. When possible, remote work has become a popular option until we have a better understanding (and control) of the outbreak. To name one of the big ones: Airbus has authorised more remote work for its employees for their own safety in the hopes of avoiding any contamination.
However, employees who are required to travel for work in different fields have also seen the benefits of not hanging around airports right now. So even if you live in Australia, France or the US, there could be a rise in remote work. The good news is this could change the mentality of some employers who still view out-of-the-office workers as a liability. This is especially true in China, where remote work is not as prevelant. In light of the current events, it is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Meetings, with clients and coworkers, are moving onto online platforms; work is being accessed from home rather than the office; public transport and the streets are being avoided. This could very well be one of the biggest (unplanned) experiments on remote work. So if you have been waiting to ask your boss to let you work from home, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon!
Shopping is not on people’s minds right now
Despite remote work being an option for some, a number of businesses depend on their employees working in factories and stores. Furthermore, they rely on their customers to actually come into their stores to buy goods. The problem is contagious diseases don’t encourage retail shopping. Adidas, among others, has been forced to close stores across China. While some of the closures are only temporary (according to the companies anyway), others are far less likely to open their doors ever again. Apple is one of the companies only hibernating during this difficult period and that might very well be for the safety of their staff (and investment). But what happens to all the people who have been put out of work and who are scared to go outside? For some, freelancing might be a solution but first, it requires certain skills or access to a particular type of equipment (starting with the internet and a computer). Unfortunately, many of the people working in stores or factories aren’t doing so because it’s their passion: it’s their livelihood.
One thing is for sure: once the coronavirus has come and gone, the entire world will have to deal with the aftermath. Certain positions will no longer be needed, others will become vacant again requiring immediate staff and many people will be connecting online in the morning rather than walking out the door.
We hope our article has shed some light on the coronavirus and recruitment. The Jobboard Finder strives to provide information on anything recruitment related on an international scale. If you have any comments or topics to suggest, please leave them for us below! We love hearing from our readers.
Author: Ali Neill
As the job board tester and blog editor for the Jobboard Finder, Ali works on job boards from all around the world and keeps a close eye on the recruitment trends thanks to a number of sources, including the website’s social media pages.