| dr Angelika M. Pabian |
The state of epidemic threat due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic announced in March 2020 has greatly influenced the Polish labour market. Implemented regulations changed the style and conditions of work and were an incentive for new trends to emerge in the labour market. Switching the traditional way of working into working online is among them. Therefore, numerous companies have conducted recruitment processes and the selection of employees online.
Present-day organisations work in a constantly changing environment in which modern techniques and communication technologies are of great importance. One of the main reasons for implementing changes is demographic transformations in the labour market, namely, changes in the structure of human resources competencies, and changes in attitudes towards work. Organisations are aware of the difficulties of recruiting people from Generation Y (people born in the 1980s and 1990s) and their successors, Generation Z. The difficulties of keeping the employees who belong to these generations is also a possible risk, as representatives of the Digital Generation and Post-Millennial Generation are individual and impatient. They value diversity and rarely become attached to a brand.
Generation gaps among employees in the labour market are not the sole factor that significantly hinders the implementation of human resource policies. The last 12 months have posed a serious challenge for numerous companies due to the government’s regulations that restrict the stationary work. Many companies have delegated employees to work remotely, where their duties are performed in the so-called home office system. At the beginning of March 2020, according to the data of Statistics Poland, 11% of employees performed their official duties using new techniques, and information technologies, and in the second quarter, this group was bigger by approx. 2%. Moreover, at the of the first quarter of 2020, the number of employees was 3.6% lower than at the end of 2019. Within this period of time, over 119,000 jobs were liquidated. In the last quarter of 2020, the number of job vacancies decreased by approx. 7% compared to the previous quarter. It is worth noting that the number of job vacancies increased compared to the other quarters of 2020, but decreased by over 30% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.
The negative phenomena, which were initially intended to be temporary, turned out to become the form of a trend. Due to the new conditions, employers were more and more enthusiastic about implementing employment forms that allow them to maintain social distance, and remote work is among them. The recruitment process was more and more often carried out with the use of tools for remote communication, including conducting job interviews, competence tests, and gamification (the use of games in the recruitment and selection processes).
Changes in the structure and potential of entities operating in the labour market have undoubtedly influenced many transformations there. Currently, however, the operational activity during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic seems to be particularly difficult, when most (or full range) of organisations’ goals can only be achieved by operating in the virtual environment that allows for communication and cooperation with partners in many fields. The pandemic seemed only to accelerate the processes that had already started in few companies before the lockdown. The use of new media and artificial intelligence in the processes of management has been kept under surveillance for several years. However, it is the period of the pandemic that has indicated the new needs in this area and the, so far unexploited, potential of the organisations’ functioning in cyberspace. Active forms of recruitment process allowing to, e.g., searching for talents are of bigger and bigger significance. Solutions based on game-based testing (involving the use of online games at the initial stages of recruitment process and selection), automated job interviews (requiring the development of an application that will allow for easy installation on the applicant’s device and asking questions to candidates), or robo-recruiters (robots that replace human’s work). While the use of new media by companies during the pandemic is focused mainly on maintaining business continuity, the development of particular permanent solutions, in the long term, will not only improve operational activity but also allow them to gain a competitive advantage. Companies that use modern solutions will be able to co-create the desired values with their stakeholders; they will be able to use their strategies based on innovative recruitment process solutions in the employer branding process, i.e., building the employer’s brand.
The uncertainty of operating conditions in the age of a pandemic and the necessity of implementing innovative solutions in the fields of, e.g., recruitment process and selection of employees, have contributed to the planning of market research aimed at diagnosing the labour market in the context of the aforementioned processes. The research will cover employers in the Silesian market who will share their opinions and experiences in the field of digitalisation, the use of new media, and the future related to Industry 4.0. The research is to provide knowledge that will identify prospects, threats, and also possible solutions in the sphere of business. The collected data will be used to formulate recommendations for market entities (employers in the Silesian market) and take into account the most effective ways of searching and recruiting talents, adapting automated systems supporting the recruitment process, online employers’ activities, minimising barriers to implementing e-recruitment tools, and increasing sensitivity to innovative solutions corresponding to the idea of the digital economy.
The research is carried out by the ‘Pro Silesia’ Business – University – Region Association in cooperation with Research and Development Centre ‘BioStat’, and the coordinator of the research is Angelika M. Pabian, PhD, under the project entitled Wykorzystanie nowych mediów i/lub sztucznej inteligencji w procesach rekrutacji i selekcji pracowników w dobie pandemii (The use of new media and/or artifical intelligence in employees’ recruitment and selection process in the age of pandemic). The e-survey is available at www.cati.ecrf.biz.pl. Detailed information is available on the website at https://www.prosilesia.pl/en. The results of the research will also be posted there.
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Angelika M. Pabian, PhD – Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences University of Silesia, a coordinator of the project entitled Wykorzystanie nowych mediów i/lub sztucznej inteligencji w procesach rekrutacji i selekcji pracowników w dobie pandemii | Photo from private archive of Angelika M. Pabian, PhD