The recruitment sector, which is a corollary activity of economic activity and a barometer of its health, is experiencing turmoil following the COVID-19 crisis.

Even during the crisis, companies continued to recruit which helped in the market regaining strength once the lockdown was lifted. This crisis, however, has generated new needs and new practices in the field of recruitment.

Regarding the emerging new needs and apart from recruitments in traditional functions such as finance, production, and sales, there is a strong demand for IT profiles and those specializing in digital professions. This is also the case in the field of HR, digital marketing and e-commerce, as well as that of logistics, in line with the digitalization of distribution.

Regarding new practices, the recruitment process itself has changed with more interviews conducted by videoconference and increased use of psychometric tests which make it possible to refine the search for candidates.

The sectors most affected by the crisis and high employment potential

Certain sectors such as tourism and leisure are almost at a standstill despite the deconfinement for health emergency reasons. These sectors should only resume recruitment gradually, and by first reintegrating the employees from whom they, unfortunately, had to separate. Even other sectors including the food industry, transport, distribution, pharmaceuticals and hygiene, have experienced increases inactivity.

Concerning the employment potential, in the short term, it is obvious that recruitments in the sectors of essential products and support activities (transport, energy, packaging) as well as the digital transformation sectors will revive. In the medium term, by the first quarter of 2021, all sectors, due to the natural catching up of economic activity, will be in a recruitment position, if only to replenish their workforce.

Measures to promote the labour market

The recovery in activity should naturally create jobs, but growth alone is not enough. Once the economy returns to its cruising speed and the destroyed jobs are rehabilitated, the issue of unemployed young graduates will remain imposing itself.

As part of an economic recovery plan, the State could act as a facilitator by exempting from IR and by covering, for a fixed period, the social expenses inherent in any recruitment, but on condition that 'this is a first-time job seeker or promotion 2020. These graduates need to be trusted and put their feet up for the first time.

The development prospects for the sector

The recruitment sector is undergoing a real transformation induced by digitization but also by segmentation of demand. It is necessary to differentiate between mass recruitments of technical profiles and specific recruitments of specialized profiles which require more work in terms of selection and testing. The first activity is recruitment logistics; the second is a personalized service that is comparable to the work of a head hunter. The sector will become even more specialized with the birth of new digital professions where firms should virtually master their clients' value chain to meet their demands satisfactorily. The common point in all these concerns is that the passage through recruitment specialists will be more frequent.

The number of budget items will certainly be reduced for this year and public announcements have been made on this subject. But the needs exist and I believe that 2021 will see a resumption of recruitments from the public, whether in professions such as health or education or the cross-functional areas of digital and HR.