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Mass Hiring During a Pandemic

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Jessica Newman

April 08, 2020

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Mass Hiring During a Pandemic

It’s no secret that many people are losing their jobs as businesses are forced to close their doors amid the coronavirus outbreak. Those in the travel and hospitality business have been hit especially hard, reporting mass layoffs. According to the Economic Policy Institute, we’re likely to see three million jobs lost by summertime.

But not all businesses are laying off employees and implementing hiring freezes for the foreseeable future. Some companies actually need new workers now more than ever before. They’re not only still hiring; they’ve had to accelerate hiring efforts to keep up with increased demand.

A New World of Work

Since people are staying home to avoid catching and spreading the virus, much of the world of work has shifted to accommodate this.

Of course, as many companies as possible have switched to working remotely. This means more online meetings and, with that, comes the need for virtual communication platforms to support an influx of customers. For example, Zoom, a popular enterprise cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, is growing its workforce by 9%, hiring people in sales, support, marketing, HR, finance and engineering.

Other companies are adjusting their operations to use their workforce and their resources more wisely during the pandemic. Restaurant servers are delivering meals to people in self-isolation instead of waiting on tables. Labatt Brewing Company, Canada’s largest brewery, has switched from making beer to making hand sanitizer to help protect people from COVID-19.

Industries that provide essential services have no choice but to try to maintain “business as usual”—whatever that means during these hectic and uncertain times—so they’re hiring as quickly as possible to make that happen.

Hiring Healthcare Professionals to Keep Us Safe

At the top of the list of undeniably-important professions right now is healthcare. After all, the world is experiencing a public health crisis. As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rises, we need more health care professionals to tend to those inflected by the virus—all while still tending to regular medical needs.

Even though elective and non-essential medical procedures have been postponed, there are still people fighting cancer and other chronic diseases. There are still pregnant women having babies. There are still people suffering with mental health and addiction problems who need help.

That’s why we’ve seen such a huge uptick in hiring efforts for nurses, doctors, pharmacists and technicians, as well as prescription delivery drivers. CVS Health, for example, is accelerating a plan to fill more than 50,000 full-time and part-time positions across the country. Other health care businesses and hospitals are hiring remote nurses to triage patients at a distance, and some are even recruiting retired health professionals to help with this effort.

Grocery Stores and Convenience Stores Need People Now

Food is an essential service, so grocery and convenience stores remain open despite the pandemic. Due to growing concern about how long the virus might last, some people have been “panic buying” toilet paper, bottled water, canned goods and other pantry items. This places significant pressure on stores to restock their shelves and provide a sanitized, safe shopping experience for the public.

In response to this, most stores (especially those that have pharmacies) have ramped up hiring:

  • Walmart plans to hire 150,000 new associates
  • Walgreens is hiring 9,500 full- and part-time roles in stores across the United States
  • 7-Eleven is adding 20,000 jobs across their 11,800 U.S. convenience stores
  • Safeway is hiring more than 2,000 workers
  • Price Chopper/Market 32 is looking to expand its workforce
  • Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores and distribution centers are trying to hire 25,000 employees

Thankfully, grocery stores are recognizing the risk their employees are making and rewarding their hard work with bonuses, raises and hazard pay. This makes this type of work more attractive to job seekers.

Kroger announced it will provide a bonus to every hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing and customer service associate. Target is increasing wages by $2/hour, and Stop & Shop is paying their employees 10% more. Two of Canada’s largest food retailers (Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies and Real Canadian Superstores) also announced a pay increase of ~15% for staff working through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Feeding Hungry Families at Home with Food Deliveries

As mentioned earlier in this article, some restaurants have switched to a delivery model out of necessity, dropping off pre-made meals to people who are quarantined or otherwise stuck at home. Pizza delivery companies have been doing this type of work since their inception—but even they are struggling to keep pace with people’s voracious appetite during the pandemic.

Domino’s plans to hire 10,000 part-time and full-time delivery experts, pizza makers, customer service representatives and managers to help keep people fed while they’re in the safety of their homes. Domino’s CEO Richard Allison said in a statement, “Our corporate and franchise stores want to make sure they're not only feeding people, but also providing opportunity to those looking for work at this time, especially those in the heavily-impacted restaurant industry."

eCommerce Boom Requires Thousands of New Workers

Similar to the surge of demand the food delivery industry is experiencing, ecommerce sites such as online retail giant Amazon are also being tested to deliver. Since people aren’t able to shop in-store anymore, consumers are flocking online to place orders, challenging warehouse workers and transportation teams to get items onto customers’ doorsteps.

In response to this, Amazon is currently hiring for 100,000 warehouse and delivery positions. The company will also invest over $350 million globally to raise the salary of current workers. Amazon’s website these initiatives have been put in place to “meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s service during this stressful time, particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public.”

Are You Hiring?

Many HR professionals around the world are struggling to hire enough people fast enough to meet the needs of certain industries during the coronavirus outbreak. Are you one of them?

VidCruiter’s video interviewing software and other online hiring tools can help you hire good people quickly. Ask us how!

jessica newman Headshot

Jessica Newman

Jessica is a VidCruiter writer who cares about connecting people with meaningful work. She writes about talent attraction, HR challenges, and hiring best practices.

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