Demand for pharma researchers, retail store managers and financial consultants on the rise since start of COVID-19.

June 9, 2020

Randstad Sourceright report analyzes most coveted jobs and skills since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and what talent is most sought after

ATLANTA, June 9, 2020 — As pharmaceutical manufacturers work to develop a coronavirus vaccine, the demand for clinical research associates and trial managers has risen by 46 percent – making it one of the few industries to increase hiring since the start of the pandemic – according to a COVID-19 impact analysis report released today by global talent mobility provider Randstad Sourceright. The report, entitled “How is key talent in the US impacted by COVID-19?” examines how various industries have been impacted, what key jobs and skills profiles have grown in demand during the crisis, and how the candidates who possess those skills are behaving in the current job market.

Key findings include a 38 percent spike in demand for assistant store managers, highlighting the increased pressure retailers face to keep essential goods stocked amid the pandemic and the trend towards stores reopening their doors as governments lift social distancing restrictions. Financial consultants and insurance underwriters have also seen a 50 percent increase in demand, and demand for software developers has remained steady despite the economic slowdown. Conversely, customer service representatives, engineers and automotive workers have all seen double-digit decreases in demand.

“The economic slowdown brought about by the pandemic has forced companies to focus on what jobs and skills are truly essential and most valuable to their businesses,” said Sue Marcus, regional president at Randstad Sourceright North America. “With this analysis, organizations can gain a detailed, data driven picture of the skills landscape during the pandemic. We’ve also taken a qualitative look at the mindsets and behaviors of candidates working in these job families to provide companies with a more complete talent picture and help them shape their recruitment strategies.”

The report analyzes data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, World Health Organization, job boards, career sites and social media postings to map the demand for customer service, engineering, finance, pharma R&D, sales and software development roles. Randstad Sourceright combined quantitative demand data and qualitative supply information to provide organizations with a clear outline of which skills to safeguard in the future. This data can also inform what additional recruitment efforts may be needed to manage competition. The report identifies the changes in demand for key jobs across six job families between January 2019 and April 2020. It also highlights what specific skills have become most valuable during the pandemic, breaks down job demand in by state, and provides an assessment of risk and “remoteability,” which is the ability to move a specific job into a remote work arrangement.

The shift in demand for certain skills will inform how employers hire once they begin to reopen and could signal longer-term trends that recruiters must be aware of. Some sectors with increased demand will become candidates’ markets, which will make engagement and attraction plans critical. Other sectors may face less competition for talent, but have trouble recruiting for specific skills. With the right information, employers will be more prepared to recruit as things begin to return to normal.

COVID-19 impact analysis report highlights

  • Customer service roles experienced the steepest drop in demand from February to March (47%), followed by sales, finance and engineering roles (all experienced a 34% decrease), followed by a 22% decrease in demand for software development roles and a 17% decrease in pharma R&D jobs.
  • Financial services (84%), professional services (78%) and IT/telecom (75%) roles are the most “remoteable” and easiest to carry out from home. Employees in other sectors find it impossible to generate output from home, such as construction where only 6% can work from home.
  • The top in-demand skills in each job family were identified as: scheduling (customer service); quality assurance (engineering); accounting (finance); chemistry (pharma R&D); retail sales (sales) and Java (software development).
  • Each job within the pharma R&D space has seen an increase in hiring, with clinical trial managers and research associates being most sought after (40% and 50% respectively). It is projected that the pandemic will accelerate the shortage of talent and increase recruitment activities for these roles.

More findings are available in the COVID-19 Impact Analysis.

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