Mr. Hensgens, home office is one of the big work topics in the pandemic: How is that reflected in inquiries and offers on Indeed?
Inquiries involving home office have doubled since the beginning of the pandemic. The word now appears in around every hundredth – with around four million different users on our platform every month. If you consider that people always enter very precise search terms and job profiles, that is a very high number. On the advertising side, 7.5 percent currently include a home office option, which is also a doubling.
What other topics has the pandemic brought into focus?
Above all, the labor market itself has changed dramatically. I’ve been in the industry for 20 years and have never seen such changes in demand with regard to individual sectors. From the end of March onwards, of course, the catering, hotel and event industries were looking for new employees significantly less. In the catering sector, things went up again after the first lockdown. This development is likely to occur again towards the summer. The food retail trade or the logistics and pharmaceutical industries, on the other hand, continue to be strong. We placed people who were cooks before the crisis and who now work for Bofrost, for example.
What about job offers after a year of the Corona crisis?
We are trying to bundle all positions that are advertised online on our platform – and as far as the advertisements are concerned, we are already back on the same level as before the pandemic. This is also due to industries in which there is still a shortage of skilled workers, such as IT or construction. The low point was around Easter last year, when we lost 22 percent of advertisements in Germany. In Great Britain it was even 53 percent. The German labor market has proven to be very stable – also thanks to the short-time working instrument.
What is additionally driving demand in Germany despite the pandemic?
Demography, among other things, plays a role here. In the public sector, for example, 25 percent of employees are 55 years of age or older. They will retire in the next ten years. In addition, labor migration fell sharply in 2020 as a result of the crisis, and Germany urgently needs it to fill vacancies. In the construction industry, for example, it is sometimes not even about qualified employees, but simply about finding someone for a job.
With the experiences from the pandemic in mind: What does an attractive employer have to offer today?
You have to differentiate between office work and others. As far as office jobs are concerned, it is crucial how you behave towards your employees during the crisis: If you force the workforce more or less to come to the office, this will certainly have negative effects in the long term. Right now it shows what beautiful promises are really worth. So whether I enable my employees to work from home, support them with equipment or what security precautions are taken in the office. Communication is also particularly important now. For example, I have a digital meeting with all employees every Monday.
After a year of pandemic for office work, shouldn’t it generally be the rule that there is at least the possibility of home office?
It is certainly not the rule yet. But many companies have now at least recognized that they have to invest in technology in order to be an attractive employer. In the next step, however, this also includes trusting the employees that they are doing a good job from home. In doing so, they also invest in their own brand, because word of course gets around. In addition, companies become interesting for a larger group of applicants, as potential employees can live much further away. Moving is sometimes a big hurdle. If you only have to go to the head office from time to time, it is often not necessary at all.
Are these lessons evident in the job offers beyond the mere home office option?
Yes, we are increasingly seeing that, and we are also training companies to make all the advantages they offer as visible as possible in rating portals or directly in the job advertisement. Companies often neglect this. Ads are one of the best ways to show your profile to the outside world.