A new survey finds the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't stopped Capital Region companies from hiring new employees, but the pace of hiring has slowed and employers’ expectations for the future are uncertain.
Of the 54 area human resource and hiring managers that responded to the Spring 2020 Alaant Hiring Index survey conducted from May 5 to 21 – just before the initial reopening of businesses – 46 percent said they were continuing to recruit and hire new employees; 15 percent were recruiting but holding off on hiring; and 39 percent had put both recruiting and hiring on hold. Alaant Managing Partner Miriam Dushane:
"The unemployment numbers indicate that everybody is collecting unemployment, and there's lot of people available in the job market looking for a new job. And that's actually not the case. Many employees are on furlogh, so they're just waiting to be called back by their employers."
Dushane warns those collecting unemployment now is the time to launch that job search.
"The stimulus unemployment is still slated to run out at the end of July, and frankly right now, if people continue their job search they're likely going to see less competition than they would at the end of July when everyone's unemployment stimulus piece of it is running out."
Of the employers that put hiring on hold during the pandemic, 19 percent told Alaant they expect to resume hiring this month, another 8 percent over the summer, and 20 percent during the fall. Only 9 percent believed they would postpone new hiring until next year.
Survey respondents say most of their staff has been working remotely because of COVID-19.
"72 percent said that productivity renamed the same or actually increased." Anthony Capece is Executive director of Albany's Central Avenue Business Improvement District and a WAMC board member. He says employers he interacts with are trying to make as many accommodations for new and returning workers as they can.
"Some of the salons or barber shops or those personal contact, very close contact businesses, they're struggling with PPE, employee concerns about their own safety and tehir customer dafety. People are struggling with day care, family care, when they're sequestered at home with their families, taking care of mom and dad or kids that are not in school. There's a lot of stay at home moms and dads that are trying to wrestle with when they can go back to work."
Dushane has an answer to that: she points out that many employers are conducting training remotely, online. And that aforementioned noticable increase in productivity has led some employers to offer potential hirees remote working as an option.
"When you're in an office setting, you know, typically you're probably getting about six hours of work, solid good work, on a daily basis, because there's distractions, there's chit-chat, there's whatever else might come up when you're all working together in a space. But when you work remotely, the team is working more and they're actually getting more accomplished."
CLICK HERE to view the Alaant survey.