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Slippery Labor Market During the COVID-19 Crisis

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Competing in This Slippery Labor Market

Remember, nine months ago, pre-COVID? This picture was common in the workplace. Today, the grocery stores, retail stores, and the like, look like a race track with lines on the floor to promote social distancing.


Suddenly the paper resume is obsolete, and in-person interviews are now conducted with Skype or Zoom. Although some people are now working remotely from home, the coronavirus has brought the economy to a screeching halt, layoffs, plant closings are the norm, most commercial jets fly increased from ten passengers to 75% capacity, and the country is facing martial law.

The current market is volatile. Massive layoffs in the private sectors and the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across all fronts. Jobs in essential areas medicine, logistics trucking, limited retail (food and bare essentials), field service, project management seek new workers with incentives not heard of since Y2k.



Workers on the lowest levels of the supply chain, who fight for a living wage of fifteen dollars an hour or more, now carry a fractured economy. What are employers doing to maintain safety now and in the future?


Many recruiters scout prospects with vague information for positions without disclosing the job or who the employer may be. With unemployment at an all-time high, just getting an interview with the option of telecommuting is a huge plus. In the event the option is presented, negotiate early.


Often the first question centers around compensation. Remember, recruiters are paid on commission. If asked, give a range of fifteen percent plus or minus of your previous salary minus benefits. Too full of an array may make it difficult to place or appear desperate or opportunistic.


Most recruiters are aware of what their client has set for salary and benefits and look to find candidates willing to accept those terms with the required skill set. Recruiters also know what the market allowed for your previous position, so exaggerating your last salary can quickly be confirmed. Upward mobility may not be an option if the market can't bear it, and a lateral move may be your only option if you desire the position or even a step down from your previous job.

Some recruiters may want to submit you for the maximum amount allowed, however tempting refrain, if possible, to remain competitive. Recruiters are competing to fill the same position, often contract to permanent 1099 without benefits. If you are offered a 1099 post, the salary can result in a fifteen to thirty percent increase due to the lack of additional overhead for benefits. PTO, health insurance, 401K, reduced pension. Reduced expense garners excellent savings for the company. However, the sponsoring recruiting firm may offer benefits at a cost but not as competitive as a permanent position.


Headhunters are a different type of recruiter in some cases, those seeking to make career transitions and obtain them for a fee in addition to a finder's fee. Like employers, you can specify criteria for your needs. Ladders are one paid search engine for executive searches. LinkedIn premium is another paid service with customized search engines for executive prospects. These services allow you to "interview" prospective" employers by offering listings to often non-published job openings. The employee pays for the list, and the employer pays for the finder’s fee with a percentage of the annual salary. The services provided save time and offer listing other sites that lack access.


So how do you compete in this fluid, slippery job market? What will the casualties and collateral damage be? In these challenging times, we can help with career consulting and resume services. We have three different resume writing levels to fit your needs assisting in giving you a digital presence in these times of social distancing.


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Updated date, 12/14/2020; Original published date, 4/16/2020

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