Women, especially the poor, had 66% of three million jobs lost due to lockdown.
Temporary employment seems to be the future as companies move away from offering permanent positions to seek freelancers and fill temporary vacancies.
As three million people have lost their jobs due to retrenchments and layoffs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, recruitment agencies have a large database of job seekers but no job openings. But recruitment agencies could look into temporary employment services (TES), which professional body Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations has identified as a new trend, said its business development manager, Skhumbuzo Dlamini.
“Companies are looking for freelancers now and skills when they need them, as opposed to having a permanent candidate that will take up resources even when it is not necessary.”
He said that companies and businesses were opting for temporary employment as, despite the pandemic and retrenchments, resources were still required for business to continue as usual.
“I think this, in fact, is the future of work moving forward. It involves flexibility. For example, in the health sector, where nurses would work multiple hours instead of a basic strict shift, they can do shifts in between, depending on their availability. TES is definitely a new thing and companies have actually opted for it,” he said.
Recruitment agencies were struggling during the lockdown as companies had now opted to do their own inhouse recruiting to cut costs, instead of commissioning agencies for the same service, recruitment specialist and CEO at Emakhosini Management Makhosazana Valerie Tshabalala said.
Also read: SA loses 3K jobs in first quarter of 2020, before lockdown – StatsSA
“Clients are cutting down on costs, so they then opened their own inhouse recruitment agencies, which means the client becomes our competition. They started sourcing themselves and only used agencies to branch out for other options,” she said.
She said companies often only approached agencies to fill senior or executive positions as these were more technical positions, which required headhunting of potential candidates. Jobs in the fast-moving consumer goods (retail) sector were, however, still in demand, which often required recruiting of bulk candidates.
“Companies are not recruiting right now. Even if they are, it is mostly for critical positions,” Tshabalala said.
According to a recent survey, out of the three million job losses in South Africa, twice as many jobs were lost by women than men between the period of February and April. The National Income Dynamics Study Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey found that 66% (two million) of those who lost their jobs were women, particularly poor women.
What employers did not seem to consider was that women had the additional burden of domestic and family responsibilities during the lockdown. This was due to extended closure of schools and having to balance childcare, homeschooling and employment, said Fiona Leppan, director in Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s employment practice.
“Many employers are expecting their employees to carry on as normal – something that isn’t always possible. Nobody could have planned for the disruption that Covid-19 and the ensuing lockdown caused and many people, especially working parents, are just not coping.
“While many factors are at play, the sudden added domestic responsibilities, the bulk of which still tend to fall on women, can’t be ignored.”
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