The war on talent just changed. A new dynamic lies ahead.

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As companies the world over have frozen all hiring while they assess the impact of Covid-19, we all wait with bated breath for their decisions to be announced in the coming weeks.

Travel and hospitality were among the first to be affected, with Flight Centre, The Star, Virgin and Qantas all making redundancies. But of course those industries have an impact on so many others. We’re now seeing the ripple effect touching more and more businesses and people who relied on these companies in more ways than you can think of.

Recovery will happen, that’s for sure, but the questions no one can answer with any certainty right now are when and at what speed? Which geographical locations and industries will bounce back first?

We believe those that survive will likely come out of this stronger because they will pick up the customers left adrift by the unfortunate businesses who have fallen. Then the inevitable consolidations will ensue as the big players make acquisitions of distressed assets. 

Will lessons be learned for the future though? Some will but, as with the passing of previous recessions and depressions, others will forget all too quickly.

Is customer loyalty/care/experience going to be the difference between survival and growth in the coming months? We think so! It has been the saviour of many in similar downturns before.

Generalists over specialists in a scale down or consolidation period? Here’s our top 3 predictions;

  1. “Cutting the fat”: This can be applied to people and systems. The first people to go are likely to be the non-business delivery critical, followed by any hefty salaries that aren’t directly driving revenue in the short-term. 
  2. Spend on software systems will be scrutinised – is it essential? Are we seeing value? Then cull non-critical business systems and keep those that deliver clear ROI.
  3. It’s going to be interesting to see to what degree the high-demand skills in the talent landscape will be impacted. Sky-rocketing salaries over recent years for the likes of DevOps, Frontend, Data Science and Security engineers may begin to level off or possibly even decline in the short term. There’s no doubt these skills will continue to be in demand but with a sudden flood of available talent to the market in these disciplines, we predict salaries are likely to see a shift.

What should you do in a time like this?

Up-skill

The average person commutes 1 hour each way to their office, that’s 10 hours a week you just got back (“but now I have to home school my kids and do my job!”). We empathise, that is tricky and there are many people struggling to juggle that scenario right now, however there is probably still going to be some extra time each week that we’ve not had before being isolated.

If you can utilise this time by diversifying or adding to your skills through online learning, you could be safer in this new economic climate than others. The strongest performers and those that can wear multiple hats will doubtless have the highest chance of survival. 

Build networks!

Find Slack channels, LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, any online communities in your industry, and get connected, grow your network, learn from others and inevitably hear about opportunities.

Reduce unnecessary business costs.

Don’t wait for your leaders to find cost reductions, look for solutions to existing challenges that are cheaper or free and put them forward to your manager or CFO. Less costs means more capital for you and your colleagues’ salary. The added bonus will be in appreciation for your efforts and proactive approach!

Final word — The economy recovered from the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, the dot com bust, the GFC (just 12 years ago) and this will be no different, so stay positive, be supportive to the people around you and for the love of god, stay in isolation!!!