Info-tech

These ‘match-making’ job platforms connect the laid off to the hirers

Chitra Narayanan New Delhi | Updated on April 16, 2020 Published on April 16, 2020

Lay-offs, firings, furloughs dominate the headlines.

But amid the gloom, there are companies that are still hiring. E-commerce, pharma, food companies, online education and gaming firms are among those looking for people. And, hearteningly, a few tech-based platforms have sprung up with the objective of getting people back to work as quickly as possible by building bridges between those laying off and those hiring.

On Tuesday, CHROs from Accenture, LincolnFinancial Group, ServiceNow and Verizon announced the launch of People+Work Connect, a tech-enabled platform built by Accenture. The B2B global platform will bring together companies laying off people with those in urgent need of workers.

Companies already on the platform include ADM, Baxter, Blue Apron, Cargil, Frito-Lay, Lincoln Financial Group, Marriott, Mondelez International, Nordstrom, ServiceNow, Walmart and Zenefits. About 250 more companies are expected to join over the next week. At this point in time, the platform is providing a connection between companies with volumes of approximately 100-plus roles or 100-plus workers.

What’s on offer

Meanwhile, in India, CareervsCovid19.com has come up with a platform that is live, tracking hiring and firing across 904 companies. Those facing a career risk can post their profiles, which are accessed by companies looking to hire. In addition, the site gives a lot of data and insights on which companies are enforcing pay cuts, which are laying off, and which have hiring freezes, allowing candidates to take informed career decisions. Predictably, the hospitality industry is the one with the highest percentage of layoffs.

 

According to Himanshu Geed, co-founder of Big.Jobs, an outbound hiring marketplace based out of Singapore and Mumbai, 120 companies are actively looking at profiles posted on the site. Additionally, they have been approached by a couple of start-ups that have fired over 200 employees for ‘layoff management’ — so profiles from those companies will be showcased on priority. At the moment the platform is only showcasing profiles and not following up on candidate selection.

On the People+Work Connect platform, however, where skills from one industry will be matched with required skills from another, employers laying off will be making personal recommendations about their employees to potential hirers.

Who is hiring

The CareervsCovid19 platform gives a real picture of who is hiring and firing. Fintech, logistics and transportation, grocery delivery, gaming and content firms are all hiring. “The most aggressive hirers are tech start-ups,” says Geed. The CVs on the platform reveal the candidates have ‘pedigreed’ profiles — they have lost jobs not because of performance issues but because of a financial crunch for the past/current employers. Tech start-ups realise this is the best time to hire such experienced professionals.

On the People+Work Connect platform, among the companies that are hiring are Baxter, ADM and Mondelez. “Our essential medical products are being used by healthcare professionals on the frontlines of this pandemic,” says Jeanne Mason, Senior Vice-President, Human Resources, Baxter. “Intense demand for our products is creating additional employment opportunities — 800 in the US alone. We look forward to collaborating with People+Work Connect to help us find talented, passionate individuals to join our Baxter team.”

Quick ascent

What’s common to both these platforms is that between idea and creation, it took hardly any time. The Accenture-built platform took just 14 days, with collaboration from CHROs, while Geed says what started as a small tracking initiative spiralled into something big in next to no time as volunteers joined the fold, and people contributed with data and insights.

Geed feels in the next few months we could be looking at a loss of over 100,000 white-collar jobs. What has started out as crisis management initiative during this time could become something bigger.

Another live Covid-19 tracking platform on hiring and firing news that has come up is skillr.ai . It says, “Inspired by Candor’s tracker for the US, we created a hiring tracker for Indian companies to provide Indians free and easy access to information and opportunities.”

This platform, too, has crowdsourced user-generated data on companies that have announced hiring freezes, those that are still hiring and job postings. For instance, it lists 6Sense in Pune and Bengaluru and Abbott are among those hiring, 91Springboard Business Hub and Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail are showing hiring freezes and Acuiti Labs and Acuris are laying off workers.

While the platforms are doing a great service, one problem with crowdsourcing data is that there are liable to be errors, and could harm company reputations points out an HR specialist. Indeed, some of the companies mentioned as laying off people have denied it. "If they could find a way to verify the data by checking with companies listed, it would add more value," he feels.

Joel Paul, General Manager, India, RiseSmart, an outplacement provider, feels that such collaborative platforms are the need of the hour and a step in the right direction. While RiseSmart has attracted queries during the Covid-19 crisis, none of its big company clients are as yet planning to lay off. Rather, they are doubling down on coaching and looking to manage people resources through wage restructuring, he says.

Published on April 16, 2020

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