Is it the right time to explore new job options?

The ongoing pandemic has changed the priorities of professionals, in terms of the job and location; and the approach of employers, in terms of the kind of talent they are looking for.

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Job hunting during the lockdown, when companies are laying off staff or asking them to take mandatory sabbaticals, may seem foolish. The thought of switching jobs too, could feel daunting when salary cuts and hiring freezes are all people can talk about. However, if reports are to be believed, employees are not in the mood to sit back and wait for the situation to normalise.

As businesses are trying to make a comeback, employees with jobs at hand seem significantly willing to explore other avenues and search for something new in their career.

A recent report from Hooray Health & Protection found that 50 per cent of workers currently employed plan to look for a new role when COVID-19 dies down. It also highlighted a remarkable squabble in employee benefits, with just 47 per cent of businesses currently offering no perks to their people – and 64 per cent of frontline staff going without income protection or health insurance.

Minakshi Arora

“On one hand, a lot of industries right now need talent, especially in R&D, medicines and manufacturing, and on the other, there is a fall in demand in the services sector. Demand is picking up in the other sectors, albeit slowly. So, employees may have to prioritise the sectors.”

According to Vinay Bassi, CHRO, Arvind Group, “Undoubtedly, we are in a very unprecedented situation. However, at this moment, if somebody wants to look for new assignments or roles outside of his current job domain, it’s not a bad option at all.”

Having said that, he adds, “A lot of industries are now looking for new talent, with focus on digital, data analytics, technology, human resources and people who are more empathetic and understand the sensibilities of humans — something which is required at this moment.”

Similarly, e-tailers such as Amazon and Big Basket are hiring hundreds of people, as are manufacturers of medical supplies as demand for their products increases.

Minakshi Arora, CHRO, Trident Group agrees that with the demand for talent increasing, there will be a chance for employees to look for job profiles, depending on the industry.

Tanvi Choksi

“These are also times when one should embrace stability and continuity. The deeper the roots, the more the stability. At that stage of life where one has a good job and is well settled, it makes sense to stay put rather than look for a change. These are times when one must look at how one can help an organisation grow and also grow within an organisation,”

“On one hand, a lot of industries right now need talent, especially in R&D, medicines and manufacturing, and on the other, there is a fall in demand in the services sector. Demand is picking up in the other sectors, albeit slowly. So, employees may have to prioritise the sectors,” she adds.

In Bassi’s words, “People can look for a change at this moment and not hold up to roles as of now. The market has opened up and given the kind of diverse thought processes, candidates are much desired in the organisations right now.”

Tough times always bring out the best in all of us. Nothing can be a better test of our strengths and weaknesses than these ambiguous times that we are living in right now. When the times are tough, it is best to face them.

As they say, one size doesn’t fit all! Tanvi Choksi, HR head & director, JLL India, doesn’t consider this time to be appropriate to look for a handful of job options. The reason being the job market that is strewn with many employees who have been either forced to go on a sabbatical or have been fired.

Choksi firmly believes that this is not the time to be exploring job options, if the person is doing well in the present role and has stability.

“These are also times when one should embrace stability and continuity. The deeper the roots, the more stable we are. Spending a fair number of years in an organisation brings stability into our lives. At that stage of life where one has a good job and is well settled, it makes sense to stay put rather than look for a change. These are times when one must look at how one can help an organisation grow and also grow within an organisation,” she explains.

Job-hunting in these times can be perilous to say the least with only a handful of organisations being able to resist resorting to measures such as layoffs.

The ‘need’ to switch jobs

As the pandemic hit the lives of many, bringing in new changes, good or bad, there have been professional alterations too. Goals have shifted and mindsets have realigned, leaving many employees searching for something new.

In Arora’s words, “Earlier, people had the flexibility to work in whichever location they preferred, with their families around. There was a willingness to work in any of the metros, even if it meant moving away from their homes due to work. Now, people prefer jobs that will not make them lose touch with their families. Therefore, people may look for options that will not compromise their personal life right now.”

Arora feels that family commitment is pressurising employees to search for different job roles that will bring them back to their hometowns.

Many of the recently married, who are working as long-distance couples, now wish to be with their partners, whether they have a job or not.

Vinay Bassi

“A lot of industries are now looking for new talent, with focus on digital, data analytics, technology, human resources and people who are more empathetic and understand the sensibilities of humans — something which is required at this moment.”

Moreover, rather than mental security, the present situation demands financial security. In today’s climate, when allowances are being scrapped and the pressure to perform is going up, the best way forward for employees is to search for options with better returns.

Although Bassi considers financial insecurity to be of paramount importance, he also suggests that such disruptions will come and go, and hence, there is no need to feel insecure. “An insecurity bump may emerge, but it may not necessarily continue for a longer time,” he adds.

“The fundamentals of a job switch have not changed. An employee may not be happy with the current place, and hence, would want to grow and take on a larger role,” he adds.

If you have the skills, then looking for jobs outside is the best option. However, if that’s not true for somebody, it is better to wait, acquire those skills and then move on.

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