How Job Seekers Feel about Searching for Work During COVID-19

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With Australia’s unemployment rates hitting 7.5% last month, there are more job seekers looking for work than ever before. And while searching for a job in itself can be a stressful time, the added uncertainties around COVID-19 may cause additional stress and anxiety—potentially making it even more challenging to find the right role. That’s why it’s more important now than ever for employers who are hiring to both understand job seeker behaviour during COVID-19, and to ensure their open roles are easily accessible.

In this blog, we discuss how job seekers feel about searching for work during COVID-19, and what steps employers can take to help to mitigate some of the stress of searching for a job during these unprecedented times while also attracting the best candidates to their jobs.

Job seekers don’t feel confident they will find a job
50% of job seekers who plan to enter the workforce are not confident they will be able to find work again quickly.

Unfortunately, when it comes to searching for work during COVID-19, job seeker confidence levels are at an all time low—with half (50%1) saying they have no confidence that they will find a new job quickly. In fact, only 9%1 of unemployed job seekers are very confident about the prospects of finding new work quickly. Given the current labour market, state and international border closures, the lockdown in Victoria, and continued COVID-19 restrictions around the nation, it doesn’t come as a surprise that many job seekers think it will be awhile until they can find a new job.

Job seekers are willing to wait months for the right job 
37% of job seekers who are not looking for employment now, but intend to in the future, think they will start looking in the next 2-3 months

Recently unemployed job seekers don’t seem to be in a rush to start looking for employment, with only 3%2 saying they’ll start searching for jobs in the next week or so. In fact, 25%2 say they will start in the next month and 37%2 say they won’t start their job search for another 2-3 months. This can be attributed to the fact that many job seekers believe there aren’t any jobs out there (27%3), or think there aren’t any jobs that are suitable for them (22%3). Some job seekers are even afraid to enter the workforce right now (14%3).

Another possibility for job seekers wanting to wait months before starting their job search is the desire to stay at their next job long term. 44%4 of those surveyed said they would like to stay at their next role for a long time, with only 34%4 willing to take whatever they can find at the moment, even if it meant they wouldn’t be staying in the role for long.

Job seekers feel anxious about returning to work
48% of job seekers who plan to enter the workforce again feel anxious about returning to work

The idea of going back into work is a stressful one for unemployed job seekers—48%4 say they feel anxious and 30%4 say they feel stressed about returning to work. This could be because few job seekers feel supported (only 10%4) about going back to work. What is usually viewed as an exciting new opportunity, the idea of starting a new job during the COVID-19 pandemic is causing anxiety and frustration.

How to instil confidence in job seekers and attract them to your open roles
One of the biggest challenges facing job seekers searching for work during COVID-19 is the perception that there simply aren’t any out there. As a result, if you are looking to fill any open roles, it’s important to ensure that your jobs are easy to find and are attracting the right candidates. You can do this by using a job title that is clear and easy to understand by people outside of your organisation. For example, avoid using internal jargon and trendy terms like ‘Sales Guru’ or ‘Packing Wizard’ as these could potentially confuse job seekers and discourage them from applying. It’s also important to be as clear and concise as possible in your job description.

Given the heightened anxiety and stress job seekers are feeling about returning to work, and the continued spread of COVID-19, it can be a good idea to clearly identify whether the role will be remote or not. Whether the role is permanently remote, temporarily due to COVID-19, a mixture of remote and in-office, or employees are expected to come into work every day, make this as clear as possible. This may also help attract candidates to your open roles, as job seekers are searching for more ‘remote’ and ‘work from home’ jobs on Indeed.

Lastly, continue to communicate with job seekers. Your Indeed Company Page is not just a great way to showcase your employer brand, but it can also be a tool to help you attract more candidates to your open roles. For example, with Company Pages Premium, you can send branded email alerts to your followers whenever you’ve posted a new job on Indeed, and feature any critical open roles at the top of your page.

There’s no doubt that for many job seekers, searching for work during COVID-19 can be a challenging and stressful time. But by understanding the obstacles job seekers are facing, and addressing them ahead of time, you can not only help attract candidates to your open roles but also ensure you are setting them up for long-term success at your business.

1Indeed survey, n=589, 2Indeed survey, n=177, 3Indeed survey, n=188, 4Indeed survey, n=589

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