How Covid-19 Impacted the Job Market in 2020

Posted on October 27, 2020

By James Palmer

By mid-March, MacDonald Search group was well on its way to a record month. By the end of March, it felt like we ran over a cliff.

That’s likely no surprise to most, as the impact of the market crash was felt by all in one way or another. Millions of Canadian jobs were lost between February and April. Whole industries came to a grinding halt and everyone scrambled to find their footing in this unexpected tide of change.

Initial Reactions

We’ve experienced recession before. But none brought on so immediately. While past downturns have resulted in job searches being completely cancelled — this was different. The majority of clients put searches on “pause” versus “stop”.

There was hope amid the uncertainty.

Once the dust had settled and companies were able to learn more about the impacts of these sudden and wide-sweeping changes, they began focusing on moving forward once again.

In May, the job market began to turn and June was markedly stronger, still. Companies pressed forward with new plans. Some previously paused job searches were made active once again, some were cancelled, and others were reassessed. Hiring managers considered, “Who do we need now, in this new landscape?” Some job descriptions were changed to reflect the new reality of doing business

Job Market Numbers

Since mid-May, almost 4 million jobs have been created in Canada. Over 55% of the COVID-related layoffs have been rehired across virtually all sectors.

The chart above shows the overall trend in total occupied jobs in Canada, across industries. We can see that there was little change January to February, followed by a quick decline in March and April: A 5.8% and 11% decrease, respectively. In May we saw a promising 1.8% increase, followed by a 5.8% jump in June.

Q3 saw an average of 2% job growth, month over month. Compared to the stagnant 0.16% growth in February (pre-pandemic) and the -11% in April at the worst of the downturn, this trend is reassuring.

The job market is consistently growing.

Industry Specifics.

While we are seeing marked recovery across the board, some industries were hit harder than others and some are having a slower climb.

In the chart above, we can see represented in red, the amount of job loss experienced by each industry between February and April. In blue, we see the comparison of current jobs as of September with the pre-pandemic job numbers in February. The vast majority of industries are nearly back to 100% pre-pandemic job numbers, showing strong recovery.

Some industries are even doing better than before. Utilities, finance, education, and manufacturing are all exceeding their pre-pandemic job numbers. Nearly all other sectors are back to over 90% of their February numbers.

Some sectors have a harder road to recovery. The hospitality industry was the hardest hit, losing 50% of jobs from February to April. Still, this industry has seen dramatic regrowth since then, reaching 84% of pre-pandemic job numbers.

With the exception of a few industries (oil and gas, forestry, fishing, agriculture, and mining), we’re seeing every sector pushing forward with hiring plans, building their teams faster than ever.

What Hiring Looks Like Now

A lot has changed between February and now, including what the hiring process looks like. Every industry is relying on digital innovation to support a multitude of business processes, including hiring.

While interviews were previously in person, video conference interviews are now the expectation.

Here’s what a typical interviewing process looks like for Macdonald Search Group (MSG):

  • All candidate interviews are conducted over Zoom.
  • Client hiring managers typically do first-round interviews by Zoom.
  • Final interviews are varied.
    • Some are doing finals at their work location, observing proper protocols.
    • Some are using MSG boardrooms, where we have established safe distancing and hygienic protocols.
    • Some are hiring completely virtually.

Working With MacDonald Search Group

MacDonald Search Group is committed to ensuring that both clients and candidates are safe and have the proper resources available to complete a successful hiring process. While this is a new way of hiring, we are already highly experienced and able to ensure a quality experience for all.

If you're currently hiring or planning to hire in the future and want to learn more about working with MacDonald Search Group, you can learn more about recruiting with us online or contact your nearest office to speak with one of our Consultants.

Chart and metrics data source: