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Q3 2020: Job applicants using the crisis as an opportunity to improve skills sets
The Home Office Skills Revolution
Swiss job applicants have taken the phrase “every crisis is an opportunity” and are applying it to their careers, especially when it comes to the skills that will help them reach their goals.
According to a recent study by Michael Page, the lockdown period prompted many people to reassess their skills and look to improve them to help with their job search, or to improve their skills directly related to their current employment.
So, what do hiring managers and team leaders need to look for when interviewing potential employees? We asked Swiss applicants where they learned their new or improved skills – using internal company tools if working, or external tools such as Udemy.
20,2% used company tools compared to 42,7% who used external tools, showing there is a determination to upgrade their profile with or without help from their current employer.
We also asked applicants why they were learning these skills. In general, applicants are looking to boost their skills to either help career prospects (69,4%), improve their ability to innovate (51,0%), prepare for a specific future role (44,9%), or to adapt to new tasks (30,6%).
These reasons for improvement are all very personal, highlighting that potential employees are aware it is a competitive market for jobs and that their skills sets will help them stand out from the crowd. The survey also tells us that some 20,4% learnt skills to improve customer experience and satisfaction in their current company, with 14,3% upskilling to help improve company products and delivery.
Video calls and remote communication – too much or too little?
With a large percentage of the working population still at home office, and in many cases for almost seven months now, we asked applicants how they felt about the level of and reasons for their employer communicating with them. Most applicants (75,5%) told us they had the right level of meetings since lockdown, with 24,5% holding the opposite view.
This shows us people value video calls and team communications, but only at an appropriate level, and for a specific purpose. Happily, our survey respondents said there was a balance behind the video meetings/calls, with 75% saying the higher quantity was related to compensating for a lack of personal interaction, and some 50% explaining the difference was related to reorganizing working practices.
The survey also highlights the great effort companies and individuals used make home office a functioning reality, by using video to managing teams and colleagues (37,5%), and vitally, control projects and production (25%).
Staging the home office – how far did companies go?
Most companies tried to facilitate some of the physical aspects of home office, with over 62,3% in Switzerland providing employees with devices such as laptops, phones, headsets and other hardware to perform tasks with.
However, there is a jarring comparison with the other main element of home office – furniture and employees’ ability to work in a comfortable setting at home.
Here companies in Switzerland fell short, with only 5,7% providing tables, chairs, footstools and so on. However, this can give the forward-looking employer an area for an Employer Branding win, by offering to provide potential hires with office furniture to help differentiate from competitors.
Fun times and Finances – how did the COVID crisis impact job applicants?
The pandemic hit the world at the start of spring, with the ensuing lockdown continuing in most countries until June, just in time for the start of the summer holiday period. This presented an interesting question for employees and employers – to go on holiday or not to go?
Talking about finances, again, a majority of Swiss applicants (55,3%) said that the pandemic had affected their finances in one way or another – with a small percentage (0,8%) saying they earn more now. In terms of the reason for the impact, it comes from a reduction in salary and is directly related to flexible work (or reduced hours), at 32,8%. Many job applicants reduced their outgoings (26,4%) to cope with any potential future problems and also started saving more money during the crisis (15,2%).
If you would like to speak to one of our experts about any of the results from our survey, do not hesitate to get in touch, here. Our team of specialist recruiters are ready to help you understand how you can benefit from the next addition to your team.