World Skills Employer Panel Discussion – April 16th, 2020

On April 16th, World Skills had the opportunity to host its second Employer Panel Discussion to address the current and foreseeable job market during the COVID-19 state of emergency. Attendees got the opportunity to ask important questions on how this situation could impact their career prospects.

Our panellists were asked a series of five questions to clarify how to newcomer job seekers could advance their job search process during these abnormal times.  

  1. How employers are dealing with the current situation, and accommodating changes in the job market?
  2. Is your company experiencing any job losses? How are you dealing with them?
  3. What new career opportunities and challenges are you experiencing now and in the future?
  4. Are there new hiring processes and creative ways of staffing/responding to the current challenges? What digital tools are you currently using?
  5. What advice do you have for newcomers to optimise their employment prospects?

Through the discussion, the audience got a better understanding of the current trends through the experiences of the panel such as the new hiring process, challenges such as job loss, thriving sectors, and how employers are dealing with the current situation.

The panellists provided exclusive inside knowledge from their sectors. Here are some nuggets of advice:

We Are All In This Together
Employers want you to know that we are all in this together. COVID-19 has changed our way of living, not only impacting candidates but employers alike. We are all transitioning, and we first have to acknowledge that this is okay!

An Employer Perspective
Employers are assessing the situation with COVID-19 day by day.  Some companies are now working remotely and many adjustments are being made. Now more than ever, they are witnessing the use of online video conferencing software to conduct virtual recruiting and onboarding. These are all new elements that have been integrated. With the various challenges such as workforce reduction, wage subsidies, and workforce sharing, this creates a positive opportunity for those within Human Resources as the demand for coaching and advisory rises.

Employers are seeking flexibility in candidates. There is an increase in contract / part-time work but these positions may become permanent as the pandemic situation progresses.

Thriving Industries
Although many industries have been negatively affected by the state of emergency, others continue to prosper. As pressure builds during these times, more positions need to be filled. Panellists encourage job seekers to research and alter their applications to current needs.

Don’t be afraid to try a different role; this gives you the chance to build a relationship with your employer and move up within new opportunities. “Be strategic in your search, look into sectors that are growing and expanding.” – Sue Haywood

Positions in the following industries are trending:

– Finance & Accounting
– Software & Telecommunications
– Sales & Marketing

– Law Firms
– Engineering
– Insurance

The Ability to Change & Adapt
The panel emphasized that now is the time for jobseekers to educate themselves and to continue to develop their skills. Ryan Hardy mentioned, “Companies are now looking for adaptability, the jack of all trades. Someone with various backgrounds.” Demonstrate flexibility, show employers that you’re willing to work in different ways. Many Universities, Colleges, and even companies are offering free online courses to improve or gain a new skill set! Show that despite a global pandemic, you have resilience and perseverance!

Own Your Application
“What’s special About your background, what makes you special or stand out amongst other candidates?” – Deborah Roache

With hiring processes changing and higher rates of unemployment, it is essential to ask yourself: “Why you should be hired?” Pull your background into your application. As a job seeker, target what the company needs and sell your experience!

Using technology, you can find new creative ways to target your potential employers and make personal connections within your industry. For example, write a summary letter expressing your personal story, tailor your resume to the job description and showcase your character and personality by including a short introduction video.  Ensure a smooth process; by checking off all the requirements of your potential employer.

Be Prepared
Don’t give up during these uncertain times! Continue to work towards your career goals. The panel suggested being open to communication and to ask for advice and additional resources. Networking is vital! Seek mentorship and coaching to guide you in the right direction. Be prepared for the virtual transition and aim to learn more about the technologies which employers are using to interact with candidates. Consider looking into Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams workshops for professionalism and success during your interviews.

We had the pleasure of having these fantastic employers from various backgrounds join our second Employer Panel a special thank you to,

Sue Haywood, Sherpa Business Group
Natalie MacArthur, Invest Ottawa
Ryan Hardy, NewFound Recruiting Corporation
Deborah Roache, Harris Computers
Bibiana Chalansi, Robert Half Management Resources

Thank you to our team Magdalene Cooman, Andy Rapoch, Fatima, Haguer, and Jemima for hosting this event.

World Skills will continue to work with employers in making employment opportunities available to newcomers. Please continue to monitor our job board and other workshop opportunities which are all offered online during Covid-19.




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