For so long there was a “war for talent”, but will it be the opposite post Covid-19, with great talent fighting for fewer positions?
How quickly things change. Although there were signs of easing, the Canadian economy has been running in high gear for the last couple of years. Unemployment at record lows has been the norm and employers competed for talent across industries and skillsets. This war for talent is now a war for survival as Canadian companies make sense of the impact the COVID-19 will have on their organization.
The difficult balance for employers now is ensuring the viability of their business while retaining their top talent. It’s not an easy tradeoff for employers. This balancing act will unfortunately, result in talented workers on the sidelines looking for their next opportunity.
The shifting talent equation will not be one size fits all in Canada. Many industries, such as healthcare, grocery retail, manufacturing (food/essential products) and logistics, are busy now and can take advantage of the available talent from organizations that have had to make difficult layoff decisions. Talent in resource-related industries such as Oil & Gas will flood the market and compete over the coming quarters for limited opportunities.
From a skill set perspective, the war for IT talent will continue. Many organizations now realize how important IT infrastructure and technology tools are as they quickly moved to enable their workforce to work from home. The downstream impact of the pandemic will create more demand on IT and technology skills to support all types of work arrangements, particularly in the areas of infrastructure, cloud architecture, data security and the related support needed to maintain and manage the new processes.
Logistically, the way work gets done is forever changed by the pandemic of 2020. Companies are morphing into more fluid work structures, hyper responsive to economic demands and global trends. The new reality of working from home, virtual teams, remote management means a likely higher demand for contract, multi-skilled, in-demand talent and project-based consulting work. Perennial overhead costs like large office spaces and permanent salaries will be reconsidered against investing in new technology, and contract/consulting arrangements. Agility will be the safe guard against anxious investors and nervous business analysts, and perhaps leaving many well qualified candidates looking for work.
As companies recover and rebound post pandemic, there will be a larger talent pool available and the war for talent will be fought in specific skill sets. The new battle for the Canadian workforce and employers will be fought in learning. How can we support the learning and re-skilling needed to support our new reality in Canada?