Skills mapping diagram One keyarea that employers will be honing in on this year is "learningagility," or what a candidate is capable of learning. (Image:Shutterstock)

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A global survey by Swedishemployment researcher Universum says the worst of the COVID-19pandemic's fallout on the job market may have passed. While thesix-month economic and employment forecasts appear "challenging,"recruiting needs will largely remain unchanged, particularly forlarge companies and highly sought-afteremployers. 

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Fear of the pandemic causedmarkets to tumble in unison, yet many economists predict themarkets will rebound quickly once the virus is contained–meaningthat companies must be careful not to overcorrect and discontinuecritical recruiting investments, the Universum report said. 

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Related: Employers rethinking compensation strategies torecruit, retain workers

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The survey of 1,131 respondentsin 49 countries was conducted from February to April, just as theCOVID-19 crisis took shape, and economic expectations improvedgreatly over the three months the survey was open, the companysaid. Globally, 20% said recruiting will slow down over the next 12months, but in China that number was 34%, in the U.S. 24% and inGermany 18%.

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The 2020 Universum report found34% of respondents expect their recruitment needs over the comingyear will increase and another 52% expect it to remain stable,while 14% expect a decline in recruitment. In 2019, 48% expectedrecruitment needs to increase, 39% predicted that their needs wouldremain stable and 13% expected a decline. 

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One key area that employers will be honing in on this year is"learning agility," or what a candidate is capable of learning.According to the report, "rather than focus on specific skills,talent leaders are searching for a learning mindset. How well canan individual pivot, learn new skills and adapt to newsituations?"

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Openness to diversity will be a top quality employers look forin new employees, as they themselves are looking for ways toincrease their own diversity efforts–something that may actuallybe aided by the current work-from-home shift. "Many believe thecurrent work-from-home trend will go further in supporting morediverse hiring practices," the report's authors note. "A virtualworkforce can be hired from a more diverse range of geographies,places where a company may not have a major office, or anyoffice at all."

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While unemployment has risen in most countries since thepandemic, large and medium-sized companies report that hiring hasgotten harder, not easier. The uncertain economic picture makestalent less likely to switch jobs, and hiring managers face newrestrictions on hiring across borders.

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The report said talent marketadaptations to the pandemic may usher in a "newnormal." Among respondents, 82% now use videointerviews, compared to 59% a year ago; 43% use tech-enabled peopleanalytics this year, compared to 28% in 2019; and 28% useartificial intelligence-enabled targeting and advertising, comparedto 25% in 2019. 

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Charles Toutant

Charles Toutant is a litigation writer for the New Jersey Law Journal.