The Scoop: Recruitment Trends & Industry Insights | December 2020

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Here is your December guide to the latest in trends impacting the world of work. Every month, we provide perspective on the biggest news affecting the industry and explain what to expect as new trends continue to emerge.

COULD THE RATE OF THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY CONTINUE TO ACCELERATE THE GIG WORKFORCE IN THE U.S. AND ABROAD?

Last month, the U.S. job growth was at its slowest rate since recovery began, with the great majority of jobs added in transportation and warehousing and a decline in opportunities for retail industry workers. And while the number of part-time workers remained unchanged since last month, it is still 2.3 million higher than pre-COVID-19 levels. There are many more people working part-time out of necessity.

By some estimates, it could take another 40 months for the job market to fully recover from the pandemic. And as companies in industries with employees working from home for almost a year determine cost saving reductions (e.g., closing, downsizing physical offices, etc.) and investing in infrastructure to increase efficiency, redefining workforce needs in the short and long term could include relying more on non-traditional staffing models, contracting, freelance, gig workers, etc. However, this situation is not unique to the U.S.; interest in non-traditional work opportunities is on the rise globally.

In South Korea, the jobless rate of 4.2% does not capture the contingency of people working more than one job, some of whom still make less than they had prior to the pandemic. 

While working multiple jobs, a term called “N-Job,” is not the norm in the country, interest is growing in “gig” work and freelancing in addition to working a full-time job, with one poll showing 13.5% of respondents having a side job and 35.7% considering one. However, current options of this nature are limited; this creates an opportunity for employers in the region who see value in adjusting their workforce model. 
Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-13/pandemic-woes-bring-u-s-style-gig-economy-to-south-korea [Bloomberg News]

In a move to respond to this burgeon market of “moonlighting” workers in other countries, Google has recently rolled out a new gig app, currently in beta in India, called Task Mate. Businesses anywhere in the world can post a task and users in India can earn money by completing tasks on their smartphones. While the current tasks are simple — translation, survey, etc. — it’s not difficult to imagine more complex tasks, or in the future short-term projects, surfacing on the platform.  
Read more: https://gadgets.ndtv.com/apps/news/google-task-mate-testing-india-app-users-earn-money-simple-tasks-smartphones-beta-2328904 [Gadgets 360]

COULD THE COVID-19 VACCINE ENABLE NEW SYSTEMS OF DISENFRANCHISEMENT?

The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in the U.K., U.S. and Canada has renewed conversations about the potential for gatekeeping daily lives — determining who is allowed to attend indoor events, travel, be verified fit for work, etc. 

There has been speculation about the creation of the COVID-19 passport that would be used to verify vaccination status for a range of activities. Israel will be the first country to issue a special passport to residents who have received the vaccine; lifting restrictions and providing access and advantages to its holders. With as much as 75% of the population indicating that they plan to refuse to receive the vaccine, the passport may prove a tangible incentive.
Read more: https://www.newsweek.com/coronavirus-covid-vaccine-passport-israel-travel-quarantine-restrictions-waiver-1554534 [Newsweek] 

Just a few years ago, employers implemented new health benefit solutions leveraging health tracker apps, such as Fitbit, to incentivize their workers to be more active as a way to save on their health care cost, but also presumably because the cost of prevention is much less than that of the cure.

Apple Watch and Fitbit, currently tied to an acquisition agreement with Google, have been the main players in the fitness app market for the past couple of years. In the wake of increased focus on mental health and wellness, these tools have been adding new tracking indexes, such as sleep patterns, to their platform. Not to be left out, Amazon has entered this market with its fitness and wellness tracker, Halo Band. 

Unlike the other trackers, Amazon uses a 360-degree body scan to estimate the user’s body fat percentage and turns it into a 3-D rendering of the user’s body. Similar to their fitness app, the Halo Band provides nudges in an attempt to create health- and wellness-related behavior changes in its users. 

Unlike the competition, the Halo also analyzes users’ tones of voice to detect moods and provide insights. Similar to other AI-driven tools with sentiment analysis, there is the potential for bias to creep into the results. The digital patriarchy notwithstanding, in a time when employers, government, etc. are facing one of the worst health crises in over a century, the potential for using personal health data to go beyond contact tracing to detection and potential prevention of a COVID-19 spreader incident could result in renewed and increased use of these devices in the workplace, and greater conversation about employee data privacy.
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/12/10/amazon-halo-band-review/ [Washington Post]

CONTENT THAT FOCUSES ON TRUE REPRESENTATION IS KEY TO REACHING UNDERREPRESENTED AUDIENCES

A recent research paper, The Psychology of Inclusion and the Effects in Advertising, found that 64% of people trusted brands that represented diversity in their ads, and perceived the ads as more authentic. Inclusive content drove the intended behavior with the represented audience but was also more effective with people who were not personally represented.  

“Content that truly reflects the diverse communities that our companies serve. It means that we are elevating diverse voices and role models, decreasing cultural bias and leading positive social change through thoughtful and respectful content.”

Employers revamping their DEI efforts must start thinking beyond campaigns filled with DEI platitudes and instead engage in the work necessary to understand the needs, motivations and nuances of each audience as they develop content to activate across key engagement points.
Read more: https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2020/11/inclusive-content-helps-audience-business/ [Content Marketing Institute]

Reddit recently announced its acquisition of Dubsmash. For the uninitiated, the latter platform is a solid competitor in the short-form video market and is second only to TikTok. The move by Reddit comes on the heels of its CEO stepping down from the board to open up the seat to a Black candidate and aligns with the company’s inclusion efforts. 

Unlike TikTok, whose highest-profile stars are white, Dubsmash is known for its large communities of Black and Latinx content creators — 25% of all Black teens in the U.S. are on the platform and females represent 70% of users. The addition of video creation tools on the platform will lend greater visibility to underrepresented creators who have in the past had their content co-opted by users on TikTok without attribution. 

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2020/12/13/reddit-acquires-dubsmash/ [Techcrunch]

As employers look to elevate the authentic diverse voices of their workforce, new platforms that seek to create spaces for key audiences will provide an opportunity to gain greater visibility for their unique DEI brand value proposition.

ROUNDING OUT THE SCOOP: PSYCH, SOCIAL, LABOR AND TECH

  • Building on the functionality inherent to gaming, Parsec has expanded their solution to help companies in creative industries like gaming, architecture, engineering and video broadcast/production/post-production keep their workers connected while working remotely.
    Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2020/12/15/parsec-series-b/  [Tech Crunch]
  • With 2020 almost behind us, speculation on what 2021 holds ranges from hopeful to glass-half-empty. Rather than pin us down to reality, Future Today Institute takes a novel approach at depicting what the year ahead will look like for countries around the world.
    Read more: https://futuretodayinstitute.com/2021-speculative-calendar-seri/ [Future Today Institute]
Jahkedda Akbar Mitchell

About Jahkedda Akbar Mitchell

Jahkedda has many years of experience providing strategic guidance, data, and insights on job-seeker trends in support of TMP Worldwide and its clients. She has also worked in-house on the candidate attraction team for a large fortune 500 company. Jahkedda has a passion for psychology and storytelling; understanding why we do what we do and how to change behaviors...only using her powers for good. Jahkedda is a member of TMP Labs: a design thinking focused innovation lab.

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