Employers are Hiring Despite COVID-19



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

You might be under the impression that with the current public health crisis, the job and internship markets have totally dried up and that no one is hiring.  Statistics from some of the nation’s leading career development platforms and organizations refute that notion and provide hope for those in the employment marketplace.
According to Bill Fletcher, the director of the UofL University Career Center, “Cautious optimism would describe the current job market.  We are still seeing substantial increases in new jobs (all categories) posted in the Handshake career management system for March and April 2020 when compared to same months in 2019 (+117% and +157% respectively).  Another reason for optimism is that the slowing of the economy was caused by the pandemic, and not the financial markets. As the cases of COVID-19 start to decline, communities will be able to start opening businesses and people can get back to work.”
The Handshake career management platform said major employers are the source of much of the new job listings.  Handshake reports 500+ high profile employers across all 50 states are now hiring. 
According to Handshake, the top jobs roles being advertised since the beginning of March are:
* Software Developers & Engineers
* Business Analysts and Management Consultants
* Accountants
* Data Analysts
* Customer Service Representatives
Handshake reports 82% of all jobs and 52% of all internships being posted now are for full-time positions. 
The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) also suggests the job market is currently better than many expected, based upon its poll of nearly 300 companies around the nation. After quickly responding to the oncoming pandemic by setting up virtual operations, NACE said employers have remained at least “somewhat optimistic” in their hiring outlook. As of April 17, NACE reports that most employers were not revoking any offers to full-time recruits or interns, with only a small minority revoking offers to full-time recruits. Recruiting plans of these employers also show that most will recruit the class of 2021 at the same levels as the class of 2020. The biggest difference is that they plan to recruit the 2021 class using more virtual methods.
There is further evidence that the employment market in Louisville and Kentucky is active.  For example, 66 companies are currently listing full-time and part-time positions on the Kentuckiana Works website in fields ranging from health care to IT, retail to insurance and more. And the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is listing hundreds of open positions on its website.
University Career Center director Bill Fletcher said students looking for jobs in the midst of the current public health crisis need be realistic about the situation.  “Students should definitely apply for open positions now, but given the COVID-19 outbreak, they should anticipate longer response times than usual from employers.”  He also advises they use all the resources at their disposal.  “Graduates who leverage the job postings in their career center's system, combined with online and personal networking, will rise to the top of the applicant pool.  Now is the time for candidates to make sure they are ready and to aggressively start the job search process.” 
In a future article, we’ll offer specific tips on job and internship searches during the COVID-19 outbreak.  For now, remember that given the opportunities that are out there, there’s still reason to stay positive and engage now in your job and internship search.

Check out the Handshake Blog on COVID-19 Higher Ed Recruitment Trends for more on what students and employers are doing now in the job market.