Ontario kicked off 2021 with an emergency stay-at-home order. As businesses closed their doors again, many jobseekers turned to employment services for support.
As a Job Developer, I establish and maintain relationships with employers to place jobseekers in quality employment opportunities. This isn’t exactly an easy task during a pandemic! Yet over the past year, I have consistently been able to place jobseekers and help them retain employment. Armed with elbow grease and a smile, I came up with a new job development game plan that has been instrumental in my success.
Here are my top three tips for job developing during the pandemic.
Make use of information
The world and job market have changed rapidly over the past year and having the latest information is crucial. I suggest that job developers use information in the following ways.
It is important to stay current on COVID-19 and employment-related updates and announcements such as the following: reopening guidance for employers, mental health services and supports, changes to employment legislation, testing and vaccination, and available financial support for individuals and businesses. Jobseekers will benefit from the information and resources that you share with them, and employers will see you as a business partner.
Track labour market information
Job developers can track labour market information and use it to help identify employers that they want to target. Sharing this information with jobseekers will help them make informed decisions and have realistic expectations.
According to Ontario’s Labour market report for November 2020, the industries that were hit the hardest include accommodation and food services; transportation and warehousing; business, building, and other support services; agriculture; and utilities. Meanwhile, there were employment gains in forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil, and gas; finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing; professional, scientific, and technical services; and manufacturing.
The chart below shows industries by employment change in Ontario, February 2020 to November 2020.
For the latest in Canadian labour market information, I suggest visiting the following websites: Government of Canada – LMI Explore, National Occupation Classification and Statistics Canada. I also suggest connecting with your local chamber of commerce and reviewing your provincial or territorial labour market report.
Anticipating trends will help you prepare for the future.
Moshe Lander, an economics professor at Concordia University, told CTV News that he expects large retailers will begin to operate as warehouses due to an increase in online sales. This may create a demand in general labour, logistics, and virtual customer service and sales.
In addition, Carleton University business professor and former banker Ian Lee predicts that there will be an increase in jobs in the automotive industry as people move further outside of city centres and purchase vehicles instead of taking public transit.
Demand may also increase for mental and physical health services, and home maintenance and repairs.
Teach job search skills
You can use all the help you can get during the pandemic. So, why not engage your clients and help them take ownership of their job search? Properly training your clients on effective job search methods is a best practice as it allows them to gain self-efficacy and independence. You will find that it is well worth the initial investment as it may result in them connecting you with employers.
Ensure that you update your training material as some methods that were used before the pandemic may no longer be effective. For example, dropping off resumes in person may not be welcome or possible during business closures. In addition, cold calling businesses may also be challenging as staff may be working from home. There will be more reliance on technology when it comes to job searching including use of online applications, social media and email.
Networking has been especially useful during the pandemic as employers are often more open to partnering with me if we share a mutual connection. There are many virtual networking events that you can attend during the pandemic. You can also ask existing employers for referrals or (with the consent of your organization and the jobseeker) use reference checks to make new connections.
Keep in mind that some employers have frozen hiring during the pandemic. Be sure to value every connection and keep in touch as they may resume hiring later.
I also suggest collaborating with other job developers within and outside of your organization. If you cannot fill a position within your organization, offer to call other organizations that might have an appropriate applicant to refer to an employer. The employer and job developer that you connect with will appreciate your assistance, which will encourage future partnership.
Wait! There’s more!
My final suggestion is that you take time to unwind. These are stressful times. Remember that prioritizing your mental and physical well-being will allow you to feel re-energized so that you can empathize with and support jobseekers, build solid relationships with employers and ultimately increase your productivity in the long run.
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