According to ILO statistics, there are over 5.5 billion people of working age around the globe. As of 2020, 10% are estimated to be unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic as it continues to ravage our communities. The construction sector employs nearly 7% (McKinsey) of the global workforce.The spread of the coronavirus is expected to have a strong negative effect on global construction. The global construction industry will face disruptions for the next 3–4 months from the pandemic as companies globally are being squeezed by the coronavirus outbreak, through labour market and supply chain (PRNewswire).
Although a high level of economic uncertainty persists, research from the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that economic activity could be back on track by early 2021 — if the virus is contained within the next few months and the right economic policies are enacted.
The Global Labour Market
During this pandemic, we have heard from many job seekers within our global community. Understandably devasted from layoffs, furlough or struggling to find their feet mid-search due to companies issuing hiring freezes. Of course, for everyone this period has bought uncertainty and concerns remain around how long this may last and the ramifications to their personal lives, careers and beyond.
There is no doubt these are extremely challenging times for us all, however, it’s not all doom and gloom. For most, this is a time for reflection, realignment and an important opportunity to understand what’s important in life. Moments of adversity can either bring you down or catapult you to new heights. So, try not to dwell on the negative and keep optimistic. It’s all about perspective.
Whilst there maybe thousands of articles in the public domain, here is some of our guidance, both personal and industry-specific, to help job seekers become more visible within the global marketplace. Our aspiration is not only to make you more employable but to help you build a ‘recession-proof’ mindset that will help create value for your long-term career. Rest assured, if you are unemployed and looking to get your foot (back) in the door, you’re not alone in this journey.
The Art of Planning
As the expression goes ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, let us tell you nothing happens without a plan, and you cannot rely on luck to get you through the door. Covid19 is one of many life events that will disrupt your career and life. Build a strong foundation for your future, it is imperative to put in the groundwork and create structure around your actions. If you don’t have a target, you’ll miss. Try to avoid being sporadic, impulsive or hasty. This may get you further away from where you need to be.
Utilising your diary, brainstorming, using a Kanban platform like ‘Trello’ or simply using Microsoft Office tools to structure your approach will improve your productivity. The beginning is always the hardest, so make it easier for yourself by paving a path. You may think this is very ‘primary school’ but you need to go back to basics if you want to find your feet quickly.
Researching is key. Start monitoring companies and looking at how they’ve reacted to the Covid19 crisis. Start listing the companies who may be hiring and try to get yourself visible to the right people. This doesn’t mean adding hiring managers without a personal introduction or sending your resume to several random employees. Panicking in desperation is not the way forward. Remember you only get one opportunity to make the right impression, do it right the first time around.
Be Specific vs Pivoting
Whilst you may be desperate for work, you should evaluate your risk profile (time, cost etc) and circumstances (family, career etc) before making a decision. Of course, the first step is to straight-up ‘hustle’ (get things done, by any means) to find the same or similar role without an opportunity cost; this could be leveraging family and friends, reaching out to your extended network, launching your own personal website or even creating ‘self-promotional’ content. You may also consider taking a pay cut or even moving to a different part of the industry to survive.
Should you have no support network and required to pivot into a different role/industry entirely, your goal needs to mitigate any permanent damage to this temporary situation. Therefore, we suggest looking for a role that will diversify your skills and help you gain perspective that you may not have otherwise been able to get from your previous role. You will also need to evaluate how long you intend to spend in such a role before pivoting back to your long-term career aspirations. Remember this should be fairly short term.
Face-to-face events are likely to be postponed for a while, so you’ll need to find a new and innovative networking strategy. Don’t be afraid to reach out to like-minded people within your online network to ask about events, advice or help. Look at professional groups (membership bodies, NGOs, free virtual events or CPD providers etc), join the conversation and seek to create engagement through ‘relevant’ discussion. Remember consistency is key, don’t expect to contribute to a discussion and expect tons of enthusiasm from other contributors. It also doesn’t mean you write ‘look at my profile for the best candidate’ or ‘I need a job’ or ‘cv attached’. Writing such things is pretty much pointless and quite frankly, annoying! You wouldn’t do this in real life, so don’t be a keyboard activist and think someone is going to give you a golden pass. The same business etiquette applies when networking online.
Whilst LinkedIn and also Facebook are great social communities to ‘gather intel’, speak to your first-tier network and request warm introductions, speak to previous employers and think of smarter ways to become more visible to the right people. There are several other networking communities that may help you get noticed including TikTok, Lunchclub.ai or dedicated University Alumni Network etc.
Boost your skills
You have no excuse — it is the perfect time to bolster your resume with specific and relevant qualifications. Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is equally as important as on the job training or formal education. Identify the skills you lack, and then find relevant courses online that will help you become a better candidate when an opportunity comes to fruition. There are plenty of free online courses by RICS, Microsoft, MOOCs, MIT & Harvard Business School as well as LinkedIn.
If you’ve recently graduated think about distance learning or a full-time postgraduate course to become more employable and to ride out the economic wave.
You can’t control wider macro-economic factors, this is simply out of your control, so you need to stop worrying about the problems and start focusing on what you can control. How can you realign, pivot and create value? Being positive all the time is impossible, however creating a good work ethic, surrounding yourself with positive people and visualising your life in the future certainly helps. A job is one-off, but a career is with you for life. Create good habits, we believe this behaviour separates the ones who succeed from the rest (pessimists, naysayers and the like).
The Future is Here
The world around us is changing faster than ever as technology continues to influence how we live and work. While certain industries have embraced significant changes over recent years, the construction and engineering sector has not been as successful. As a result, the industry has been slow in reacting to new innovations.
WorkPanda understands the importance of technology and its role within the built environment sector. We are a tech startup that helps jobseekers become more visible to hiring managers within the global marketplace by improving candidates parsing, intuitive keyword matching, providing a video resume and an intelligent application tracking system. We take away the pain of job seeking, so you can concentrate on the things that really matter.
Start your journey today — www.workpanda.io (formerly Graduate Surveyors)