Will Covid-19 slow down hiring?

JobStreet says companies are still hiring, especially in industries and segments where products and services are in high demand

by NUR HANANI AZMAN/ graphic by MZUKRI

AS THE Covid-19 pandemic upends Malaysia’s economy, people are most afraid if companies go bankrupt, which will lead to job cuts.

Will this virus further affect an already slow hiring process? Will there be layoffs and freezes in hiring? These questions remain unanswered. For iflix — the multi-territory streaming firm based in Malaysia — it has confirmed laying off over 50 people across its various locations earlier this month, but did not disclose the exact figure.

Amazon.com Inc in the US is advertising over 20,000 open tech jobs on top of the 175,000 new shipping and logistics roles it recently announced to meet the rising demand for home deliveries amid Covid-19.

According to job listings on CareerBuilder, tech companies Facebook Inc, Amazon.com, Google LLC and Apple Inc are all hiring engineers, data scientists, software designers and cyber security experts.

JobStreet.com Malaysia country manager Gan Bock Herm said companies are still hiring, especially in industries and segments where products and services are in high demand, such as e-commerce, healthcare and information technology services.

He said job interviews are still going on via phone or video conference.

“We have seen successful hiring even during the Movement Control Order (MCO) and we are constantly reviewing and updating our products, services, as well as online resources to ensure employers and talents make the right connection.

“We are also working closely with our customers to help them through these difficult times,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

JobStreet.com provides relevant tips and advice to its customers like a summary of the government’s announcement on the stimulus package, guidance on digital interviews and tips on how to manage employees while working from home.

Gan said with the MCO in place, some companies, such as travelrelated agencies, have put their hiring on hold as they have been severely impacted by the Covid-19.

However, most of these companies are making plans to restart their hiring once the MCO is lifted as they expect demand to spike when things return to normal, he added.

Considering that employment cuts are happening around the world, Gan said most people are focusing on the immediate future such as securing their personal safety and wellbeing, while job applications take a back seat, a decision which JobStreet.com supports and understands.

“We do expect even more applications in the days ahead as the economic situation progresses.

“We are ensuring that our platforms have all the latest opportunities and resources to help them in their journey,” he said.

Job portal WOBB reached out to Malaysian companies to learn about their hiring plans and discovered that 53% of employers are still hiring.

Among these employers, 42% are hiring less, 37% are hiring the same amount as before and 21% are hiring more.

Employers who are still hiring are looking to fill roles in sales and marketing (58%), technology developers (31%), operations (26%), technical (12%), supply chain and logistics (8%) and others (11%).

“Employers have frozen hiring (47%) because they are cautious with the economic uncertainty (35%); business is badly affected and current staff may be retrenched (29%); business is somewhat impacted negatively (29%); and other reasons (5%),” WOBB said on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Jobstore.com founder and CEO Anson Wang said companies are still hiring, especially in the medical and logistics industry, however, there is not a big increase.

He believed that most of the jobseekers are still waiting for the MCO to be lifted.

“The good thing now is that most of the companies are not laying off their employees, thanks to the government’s support. We will see many companies continuing their business after the MCO.

“For now, there are fewer interviews and we do not see many online interviews, either. I think companies still prefer face-to-face interviews,” he told TMR.

Meanwhile, Bigo Live, a leading mobile live streaming community, has seen an increased number of users and app downloads as many countries have implemented movement restrictions order and social distancing policy.

Bigo Technology VP Mike Ong said some live streamers have become paid broadcasters or Bigo Live Hosts, earning an income through the app.

“Since the Covid-19 outbreak, we have witnessed people losing jobs or having to take pay cuts.

“Bigo Live continues to allow broadcasters to earn an income on their platform and be financially independent,” he told TMR.