Post-Pandemic Job Shift: How Are Patterns of Employment Changing and Favoring Candidates?

Feeding off a study by McKinsey & Company, a new report from ACCUR Recruiting Services offers insights into the impact of job shifts brought about by the pandemic.

July 21, 2022 – The economic recovery over the past year has been remarkable: Most sectors have recovered their pre-pandemic levels of employment and the unemployment rate is almost as low as it was before 2020. Some sectors are struggling to find workers and hiring in all industries should remain tight. Looking beneath the surface, a new report by ACCUR Recruiting Services reveals several trends converging, and recent research by McKinsey & Company shows how and why jobs are shifting quickly. McKinsey found that the pandemic has accelerated a trend that was taking shape even before massive social disruptions: the fact that a number of workers will need to change jobs or even fields in order to stay employed. Jobs in healthcare, retail, and tourism have been eliminated en masse, while other sectors of the economy—like telemedicine, online banking, and streaming entertainment—have grown substantially.

Where and how people work

The McKinsey report identifies three major components of the shifts: remote work, E-commerce, and automation. The report scored positions based on how important “physical proximity” is, so that jobs in retail and tourism can be said to require a high degree of physical proximity while other office positions can be shifted to remote status.

“These jobs were naturally the most disturbed by pandemic disruptions,” said Edouard Thoumyre, CEO of ACCUR Recruiting Services. “The rapid shift to remote work has been perhaps the biggest change wrought by the pandemic. We’ve previously chronicled on how valuable making a position fully remote can be. Many employers, including WordPress, have entirely distributed workforces which can be a model for other companies contemplating making their operations remote or asynchronous.”

The Role of E-commerce

The second big change that McKinsey identified was the increasing role of E-commerce. As a result, ACCUR sees the following changes in recruiting:

The Role of AI and Automation

Lastly, the McKinsey research identified the role of AI and automation in the changing pattern of employment, namely that industries in retail, restaurants, and hospitality will rely on these technologies to replace workers and make operations more efficient and seamless. Mr. Thoumyre therefore expects employers to want candidates who can successfully leverage AI and automation in their new roles. What does this mean for employers? Mr. Thoumyre says with jobs shifting away from those that require physical proximity, employers will need to:

  • Be more open to geographic flexibility and fully remote positions.
  • Be looking to maximize revenue through the use of AI and automation.
  • Continue to develop new and innovative digital sales and E-commerce experiences.

Edouard Thoumyre is founder and managing partner of ACCUR Recruiting Services and has become a key player of the recruitment and executive search industry for consumer and luxury goods brands in the U.S., in export and in travel retail. With previous experiences in management consulting (Oliver Wyman, Ernst & Young) and entrepreneurship (co-founder of Assisteo, an education and healthcare B-to-C service provider), Mr. Thoumyre offers a well-rounded understanding of recruitment needs focused on sales, marketing, finance, or operations.

What does this this mean for employees? “Most employees could benefit from a deeper understanding of how customers find them online, and in that sense, and therefore upskilling in terms of digital and E-commerce has never been more important,” said Mr. Thoumyre. He points to free courses that help you learn directly from the source:

“Thanks to changes to the economy wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are rapidly shifting gears from the decade of the customer to the decade of the employee,” said Mr. Thoumyre. “Consumers are struggling with inflation while employers are struggling to retain talent.”

Related: How the Talent Game is Changing

Welcome to the Decade of the Employee 

During the “decade of the customer” the customer was, by definition, the king. This philosophy was exemplified by managers and executives like Tony Hsieh of who famously made the leadership in his company take time working customer service lines and made it his mission to provide exemplary customer care. However, a separate report from ACCUR Recruiting Services, says that over the past few years those in recruiting have recognized a subtle shift. “Top talent is even more sought after and employees seek a greater range of options and perks beyond salary (though they want top salaries as well),” said Mr. Thoumyre. He notes as we move into the “decade of the employee” most employers would be wise to:

  • Be proactive in developing a talent acquisition and retention strategy.
  • Understand the impact of geographical mobility on hiring and offers.
  • Be more open to considering fully remote positions.

Build a Talent Acquisition Strategy 

Mr. Thoumyre explains that it’s more important today to build a “talent acquisition strategy,” which is basically an intentional set of guidelines that guide one’s decisions in hiring. Mr. Thoumyre notes that a company’s talent acquisition strategy will be individual and unique to the business and its goals, and will normally incorporate:

  • Business goals.
  • A framework for attracting and evaluating candidates.
  • The set of tools you use in hiring.

Know How Geographic Mobility Affects Salaries & Hiring

“Employees in the post-pandemic economy want more flexibility than ever, especially in terms of the opportunity to reside in a low COL area or be a digital nomad,” said Mr. Thoumyre. “In this environment, it pays to understand your risks and opportunities as an employer.

  • Comparing costs between cities: By some estimates, the overall COL in New York is 50 percent more expensive than Miami. ACCUR frequently advises companies on the differences between hiring candidates in different geographical markets such as New York, Los Angeles, and Miami.
  • Fully remote positions: Mr. Thoumyre notes that if you are electing to make a position fully remote, you may be able to consider candidates in lower cost of living areas, which may in turn positively impact your bottom line.
  • Return to office incentives: If, on the other hand, you want to keep your employees in certain geographical boundaries, be prepared to offer incentives, beyond a competitive salary, to keep your employees engaged.

Veteran Recruiters

ACCUR Recruiting Services is a boutique executive search firm specializing in consumer industries (beauty, wine and spirits, watch and jewelry, food and beverage, tobacco, cannabis, hospitality). It was established in 2006 and has offices in New York City, New Jersey, and Miami, with additional consultants in Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, and Bogotá. ACCUR focuses on recruiting for middle- to senior-level positions, mostly for sales and business development, marketing, export, retail, finance and operations.

ACCUR’s search process is the combined effort of a full direct approach strategy geared towards passive candidates working in target companies, and soliciting the large network of consumer industry professionals the firm has built over the years.

Related: Staying Ahead of the Great Talent Migration 

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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