By Kavi Iqbal
Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) has developed into a serious global issue that has consequently affected the executive search and recruitment industry in various ways. Thailand and particularly Bangkok had one of the lowest global unemployment rates ahead of the COVID-19 outbreak but many of Bangkok’s citizens have been forced to return back to their rural family homes because they were made redundant as their employers could not afford to keep them on their payrolls often as a result of the Thai Government forcing a lockdown on certain businesses in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus. Governments around the world are doing their utmost to contain the spread of COVID-19, and businesses have had to adapt quicker than ever to survive hence the reason they have turned to online communication tools such as Zoom to refrain from face-to-face meetings where possible.
Recruiters operating in industry areas that have been majorly affected by the widespread such as hospitality, travel, retail sectors and many more currently depend on digital tools such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft and etcetera to keep their businesses afloat. Empty hotel businesses are desperate to serve as quarantine facilities to generate alternative revenues in order to survive and avoid liquidation according to the Thailand Health Service Support Department.
Naturally, the recruitment industry is a sector that historically required face-to-face interaction due to the nature of its business. Hence, the reason many employers may have overlooked the possibility of allowing its consulting staff to work remotely prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Times like these allow the majority of the recruitment work force to experiment working remotely aided by some of the digital tools mentioned earlier.
Within the last demi-decade we have seen the effective use of telecommunication applications and tools as an alternative method to the face-to-face nature of traditional recruitment of which it can be accessed from anywhere with ease nowadays with smart phones. However, not everyone has the ability to articulate confidently over a digital screen and consequently many candidates and recruiters still prefer to adopt the traditional recruiting ways. Additionally, jobseekers are becoming more cautious and hesitant to enter the job search process due to their desire to stay in the security of their current jobs in uncertain times. This factor was also prevalent during the global financial crisis where jobseekers or alternatively Job hoppers which an element of jobseekers are referred to by many recruitment consultants and hirers where at their lowest in Thailand for almost a decade. To support the above statement, data analysts working in Thailand job portals would agree that there are a significant amount of reductions in job applications on average across all types of industries. Whichever way this virus progresses it could result in permanent changes to workplace practices and which hopefully will be positive ones and particularly insofar as educating some of the old dinosaur recruiters in the new technological developments that have been going on for some time right under their own noses.
As a recruiter, there are copious amounts of ways to mitigate the impact from this pandemic such as utilising online communication in the process where possible, be well informed of client’s on-going situations and to encourage business owners and management to embrace the benefits of flexible working. With the seemingly decreasing number of COVID-19 cases in Thailand, executive search firms could return to normal in no time. Only those recruiters that weather through the COVID-19 storm will be the ones able to adapt as other situations evolve in the future, hence eliminating competition from those that might not be able to get through these unprecedented and difficult times.
All RSM Thailand Recruitment Consultants are currently working from home having adopted the latest technology and recruitment tools and we are more than capable of providing a top shelf service to our clients during these difficult times to enable them to be in a position to move forward quickly, effectively and efficiently when the Thai Government deems it safe and appropriate to relax its lockdown, quarantine, curfew and border control measures.