COVID-19: What does the Pandemic mean for Auditing Recruitment?
Despite it only being March, the past three months have felt like a decade. The current world pandemic, better known as COVID-19, is wreaking havoc globally and unfortunately, the world economy has already taken a massive hit.
The coming recession brings a host of uncertainties for businesses and professionals. When the COVID-19 dust eventually settles, business as usual for many companies will not be the same. Auditing companies are far from excluded from this reality. So, for those searching for a job, whether now or in the foreseeable future, they will be entering a very different employment market.
Currently, many businesses are being faced with forced redundancies and closures. Hiring is very far from priority with survival the current challenge. Unfortunately for those unemployed, this reality is a major stressor along with the unknown length of this pandemic and the resultant hiring freezes. The pandemic has created an almost instant shift from the current candidate-driven market back to the employer-driven market of the late 2000s.
Whilst this is an extremely testing time for all, auditors finding themselves either unemployed or with additional free time should considering shifting their perspective, using this extra time to upskill and improve their long-term employability. Additional certifications and expanding knowledge of niche auditing fields is an invaluable use of time. After all, having these skills to fill your resume rather than a blank time gap will look far more enticing to employers. It conveys a level of dedication and self-motivation.
Looking forward six months to a year, it is hoped that many businesses will begin operating normally again which means hiring will reappear on the agenda. Unfortunately, other focusses will take precedent, such as returning to business as usual and profit-focused initiatives. Determining when rehiring will begin again is impossible to pinpoint and company dependent. It can be predicted however that the Big Four will be among the first to begin hiring given their substantial size.
The recruitment process will see long term changes as well, with many businesses looking to maintain their online flexibility. Recruitment could use video interviews rather than physical interviews as standard practice for instance. The COVID-19 fear is something that will not evaporate quickly. Many businesses will be continuing operating with caution for the rest of 2020, if not the rest of the decade and beyond. Zoom interviews and online interactions can be expected as the new norm.
With a long-term perspective, positives will unfold from this pandemic. It has already created an online shift that has seen businesses embrace Zoom, Slack, Teams, and beyond, quickly. An increase in productively has been reported in response. The elimination of commuting, office bureaucracy and unnecessary team meetings has seen work output surge. Going forward, this online shift is predicted to remain, and recruitment will be included as part of this shift.
The auditing industry is robust. It survived the 2008 recession and many hurdles pre and post. Its strength in undeniable. And, whilst hiring is far from the current focus, those unemployed professionals or budding auditors should not be discouraged from the industry entirely. Those auditors finding themselves without work should prepare to play the long game and for the auditing industry to taking drastic, but vital, shifts online. Take the opportunity to hone your skills and take online courses so you are more hirable than ever on the other side.