Sapienza Consulting’s survey – The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on current recruitment practices

The current pandemic has been affecting all industries in multiple ways, with one major effect of it across sectors being unemployment due to hiring freezes and layoffs. More specifically, unemployment is forecasted to rise by 9% within 2020 in Europe and reached a galloping 14.7% in April in the US. Global equity markets were down 30-50% in March 2020 and are currently remaining under a volatile state.

But how has the space sector been affected? And how has the COVID-19 crisis impacted recruitment? How willing are recruiters to adjust their hiring strategies and policies to ‘the new normal’?

With the goal of reflecting on the current market situation, Sapienza Consulting has conducted a survey addressing a few key topics that organisations are currently dealing with as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was distributed via Sapienza Consulting’s LinkedIn page and was run for 8 weeks utilising the feature of ‘LinkedIn Polls’.

­So let’s take a look at the main topics covered within the survey as well as the responses given.­­

Means of recruitment

LinkedIn seems to be the prevalent medium for recruiting candidates—but of course one can argue that this result is biased, since this survey was conducted on LinkedIn. However, 12% of the respondents indicated that they do utilise job boards to source talent. Using a job board to find candidates can be a very strategic move, especially when it comes to niche markets such as the one of Space & Defence.

Niche job boards have the benefit if attracting specific candidates with specialised skills and relevant to the sector experience. While traffic might not as be as high on specialist job boards as on large platforms such as LinkedIn, niche job boards receive applications of higher quality, leading to a lower time-to-fill and cost-per-hire. Sapienza Consulting through its AI-Recruiting subsidiary has launched its own niche job board focusing on the Space & Defence industry, called Space Defence Security Jobs, which is gradually growing and adding more clients into its community. You can follow Space Defence Security Jobs on LinkedIn here.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of the responders indicated that they were actively hiring at the time of answering the question, while another 30% indicated that they are open to hiring again within the coming three to six months. This data are very encouraging, indicating that despite a large percentage not actively hiring at the moment, in the majority of cases the hiring process has not been disrupted.

Sapienza Consulting has been amongst those employers that have continued to actively hire through the current pandemic, while at the same time remaining vigilant towards how the market is shifting and adapting to the new status quo.

Moving on to a question on the effect of the pandemic on the general business dynamics, 42% of the respondents indicated that the current situation, as one might expect, has caused delays in their project schedule and has also affected their business plan priorities (21%) with the rest of the respondents mentioning as the largest impact being hiring freezes (21%) and supply chain disruption (16%).

All this is in line with the latest data regarding the effect of COVID-19 on the space industry, with budgets being reduced, launches being rescheduled, and the general landscape being redefined.

Remote interviewing and working

As one can expect, the vast majority of recruiters are currently relying on technology to fulfil their hiring needs with 80% of the responders utilising video communication to conduct interviews and 67% being open to hire candidates fully remotely. Sapienza Consulting has fully adapted to remote interviewing and hiring and has made more than 20 successful hires through this new practice since the beginning of the pandemic.

Again, remote working seems to be a highly preferred option for the majority of recruiters. While perhaps not all roles can be performed optimally within a remote setting, it seems that social distancing has still allowed most employees to fulfil their duties from home, something that employers seem to recognise and be open to regarding future hires.

Looking into the future

Asking our LinkedIn audience to reflect upon a post-pandemic state of the world, recruitment processes seem to be of concern, with 18% of the recruiters and hiring managers reporting backlog of recruitment as a potential issue, 12% not being certain about whether hiring will be back to normal, and 6% expressing worries relating to candidate onboarding, perhaps in relation to possible remote working conditions extending into the future. And while worries regarding hiring logistics might be a legitimate issue for 36% of the respondents, the rest 65% does seem to focus on the potential prospect of budget constraints and on how those might affect recruitment.

Our last question, concerned the possibility of companies wanting to scale quickly after the pandemic is over, and, more specifically, whether they would consider outsourcing some of their recruitment for a period of 6 months or more in order to be assisted with high volume recruitment within short time frames.

Responses were divided, with 33% of respondents not being open to this scenario, and 22% answering that it would depend on the cost. On the other hand, 44% indicated that in anticipation of recruitment backlog, they would be open to the possibility of temporarily outsourcing their recruitment (Recruitment Process Outsourcing).

Recruitment Process Outsourcing or RPO is one of Sapienza Consulting’s offerings; a solution commonly chosen by early-stage start-ups and early growth companies that want to grow quickly. Companies can outsource their recruitment function to Sapienza for a set period and our team of dedicated expert recruiters will handle all or some of their recruitment needs. You can learn more about this solution on our Offerings page.­

Conclusion

COVID-19 has had a noticeable impact on the space industry. Recruitment has been affected, with hiring freezes, delays in scheduling and business plan execution, and restructuring of recruitment processes and work policies. Looking into the future, budget limitations seems to be the largest concern of recruiters, hiring managers, and business owners at the moment.

Sapienza Consulting has been providing workforce in the Space & Defence sector for over 25 years. Our experienced recruiters have been critical to the success of many industry clientele all over the world. Alongside the traditional GEO / MEO players within Satellite Communications, we are currently scaling-up many NewSpace ventures involved in small satellite (SmallSat) technologies. This covers LEO Operators, Earth Observation (Optical & SAR), Manufacturers, launch vehicles, Space Debris removal, Data Analytics, and much more, covering both upstream and downstream applications.