In the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak, many companies have been laying-off staff to stay in the reckoning. Most of the employees are sacked due to their companies’ need to keep their heads above water rather than performance issues. Also, many of the lay-offs happened in already overstaffed start-ups and hence, the ongoing layoffs during this pandemic speak nothing of the ability and the skills of the laid-off staff.
Overview of the job cuts during the COVID-19 pandemic
According to CMIE (Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy), 27 million people between the age group of 20 to 30 years lost their jobs due to the lockdown. Out of this cohort, roughly 14 million people fall in the 25 to 29 years age group. This group may have to face a serious job crunch as they have to compete with fresh talent integrating into the workforce. The same goes for the 33 million people in their 30s who faced the axe during the pandemic. All of these employees are desperately looking to get hired again in a disrupted ecosystem which is going through a transition now. However, as many companies look forward to hiring again, several of these skilled employees can be rehired again. All they need is some help in the form of relevant guidance and early access to new job opportunities.
Key Initiatives of major online job portals
According to online job portal SCIKEY, there was a 38% increase in monthly job-seekers during March 2020. Similarly, another leading job portal, Naukri.com states that hiring activity dropped by 62% year-on-year in April 2020. As a result of the layoffs, many online job portals have witnessed an increase in demand from professionals actively looking out for a job. Thankfully, rather than letting them deal with the uncertainty on their own, several online job portals have come up with a plan.
While many companies are on a hiring freeze, some are in fact, hiring actively. Sectors such as sales and marketing, customer service, etc. are heavily affected with frequent lay-offs and pay cuts. But there are other sectors such as pharmaceuticals, ecommerce, healthcare, logistics, etc. which have seen a surge in consumer demand and are aggressively hiring during the pandemic. According to Pawan Goyal, chief business officer at Naukri, roughly 5500 companies have posted jobs on their platform during the pandemic. The aim of these initiatives is to direct the laid-off employees to such companies on priority and help them secure a job.
Here are some of the major initiatives undertaken by prominent online job portals for the employees who faced the axe during the COVID-19 crisis.
SHRM and Indeed tie-up: Here to Help with Jobs
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the world’s leading online job portal Indeed have partnered together to showcase the latest employment opportunities through their aptly named initiative - Here to Help with Jobs. Job seekers can visit the link www.shrmi.in/indeed/ and browse through job openings posted by reputed organizations such as Tesco, HP, Rakuten, Maersk Global Services, etc. The website also has a series of informative short videos where recruitment heads of various companies explain the current situation and give an update on their initiatives for a better employee experience. Applicant can go through these videos and also apply to different jobs on the same website. To apply, they need to click on the tab which mentions their job domain, and they will be redirected to the Indeed website with relevant search results. The applicant can then go through the job description of any job before they apply for it.
According to Achal Khanna, CEO - SHRM India and Business Head - APAC and MENA, this is an unprecedented scenario leading to a sense of despair among job seekers. Therefore, it is important to motivate them at this time. SHRM and Indeed have collaborated with corporate organizations to give job seekers such an opportunity where they can find jobs with companies that are hiring currently. Achal opines that this will help in creating a positive job sentiment and give stimulus to organizations trying to meet the challenges of present times. According to Sashi Kumar, Managing Director, Indeed India, both SHRM and Indeed have the right resources at their disposal and by leveraging those they plan to help Indian job seekers find safe work. He hopes that more and more companies will join this initiative.
Naukri’s Step Up initiative
Naukri.com is an online job portal which has come up with the Step-Up initiative to help laid-off employees by providing them with curated content on job search, upskilling and productivity apart from posting relevant jobs exclusively for them to apply for. As part of the program, the company keeps track of new job openings across industries and organizations and organizes personalized hiring drives for laid-off employees. It plans to add hiring insights and webinars with experts as well in the near future.
SCIKEY’s Jobseeker-to-Jobsecure initiative
Online job search portal SCIKEY has come up with the Jobseeker-to-Jobsecure initiative under which it plans to bring together job seekers and hirers through an artificial intelligence-based platform called Talent Commerce. On 7th May 2020, SCIKEY announced that the program will run for the next 100 days and focus on laid-off employees. Job seekers can register and upload their details by clicking on the Jobseekers tab on the talent commerce platform or create a fresh resume under the Services tab on the job seeker page. SCIKEY prioritizes the resumes of impacted job seekers through their algorithm. The interested employers can register on the SCIKEY platform and go through resumes of the laid-off employees first thanks to SCIKEY’s algorithm.
Support and Survive IT
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit IT professionals everywhere. Support and Survive IT is a unique initiative by IT employees in Kerala. Formed by a group of tech professionals, the initiative hopes to help laid-off staff through an online job portal created exclusively for them. The applicants can fill in their details on the website which can be accessed by various IT companies. Already out of the 340 applicants registered on the portal, 12 have been placed while 15 are in the process of getting placed. The initiative ensures that only those laid-off during the COVID-19 pandemic can register on the website. Many other associations of IT employees in Kerala are planning to start similar activities to help laid-off employees.
TurboHire’s Talent Network
TurboHire is a B2B intelligent recruitment platform that helps large and medium enterprises with their recruitment needs. The company started a new portal called the Talent Network in the month of May 2020 to connect candidates with companies which are hiring now. According to the founder of TurboHire, Deepak Agarwal, there is a misconception that all companies are on a hiring freeze. With Talent Network, they want to address this issue by connecting the right set of employees with the hiring companies. Their offerings are not limited to mere access to job openings. TurboHire is urging companies to outsource their interviews as well, through a service called ‘Stockroom.io.remote’. With the interview process slowing down due to lockdown restrictions, this is another way to help companies in ramping-up their hiring activities.
There are several online job portals that are working with laid-off employees and hiring companies together in this hour of need. It is commendable that the leaders of the online job search ecosystem have stepped up to answer the needs of job seekers during this challenging phase. By giving priority to the laid-off employees in their job search model, these job portals are cushioning the impact of the economic slump brought in due to the lockdown.