State of Hiring in the COVID Economy

What Beauty Employers and Candidates are looking for in a COVID World

The pandemic put the world on pause. With stores shuttered and people using fewer products, the beauty industry was particularly hit hard.

Hiring freezes, furloughs and reduced headcounts dominated the early months of the crisis. This is changing as consumers return to stores and businesses rebuild. And now, companies are staffing up.

24 Seven has always conducted polls to monitor trends in several industries, including beauty. Given how quickly things are changing, the company decided to continually pulse the market for shifts in talent attitudes and behavior, and overall job market and workplace trends.

The most recent survey, conducted in October, chronicles how companies are navigating the new landscape. Some findings:

Companies Adopt Defensive Moves

  • 85% froze hiring
  • 70% laid off staff
  • 55% furloughed employees

Mostly Promising News Ahead

  • 80% of employers are not planning additional layoffs or furloughs
  • 60% of companies have reinstated at least some furloughed employees with 10% indicating that everyone put on hold has been reinstated.
  • 10%, however, were forced to lay off all furloughed employees
  •  8% plan to bring back furloughed talent by the end-of-the-year
  •  8% have no future plans for reinstatement.

Employers are Ready to Hire

Those looking for positions should find companies looking to rebuild, especially for mission-critical roles such as digital marketing and growth management (33% of respondents indicated that is where they’ve restarted hiring). Twelve percent have geared up hiring for all job descriptions and 11% of those queried did not have a hiring freeze at all. The majority, 54%, want full-time talent, but 31% are in the market for freelancers and 15% desire part-timers.

What’s in High Demand?

Marketing and digital marketing skills are twice as likely to be mentioned by employers than the next two desired areas of creative and ecommerce. That’s followed by sales and advertising.

The poll suggests working remotely is here to stay. Just over half (51%) indicated roles will be performed outside of an office with no plans to return to company office space in the foreseeable future—and 6% said their companies have announced plans to never have physical spaces.

Returning in phases or flexible location models are the options for 29% of those polled. Twelve percent said they had been working remotely but are now back full-time to an office. Only 2% indicated they never switched to remote.

Compensation Disrupted

The hard facts are that salaries have been impacted by the pandemic and it doesn’t look like the picture will improve in the short term:

  • 26% of companies decreased salaries during the pandemic
  • 65% will not be issuing raises at this time
  • 44% will not be giving out bonuses at this time

Questions & Answers with Lisa Marie Ringus, Executive Vice President, Global Strategy and Growth

CEW: Can you talk specifically about how COVID-19 has impacted managing talent in the beauty industry? What about the work-from-home model?
Lisa Marie Ringus: This year has been a year like no other. The onset was challenging for many, as most companies in beauty did not have a flex schedule or remote workforce. The result however, across the board, has been positive. Teams have become more closely knit, organizations became more proactive about internal communication, work became in a sense, human again. Through this, we’ve gained new lessons on workstyle, including protecting time on the calendar, reducing redundancy in meetings, executing against a laser-focused strategy and putting people first within our organizations.

CEW: How can potential employees stand out in this market and conversely, how can employers attract the best talent?
LMR: Attitudes of talent have shifted. We saw disappointment in how companies initially reacted to work from home, or how they responded to the Black Lives Matter movement, and racial and social injustice. That’s resonated with talent and impacted how they evaluate their current employer and how they will assess future employment opportunities. At the onset of the pandemic, companies quickly shifted their communication focus to their consumers. The messaging and communication on talent must also adapt. I hope if this year has taught us one thing, it’s that nothing remains the same, we will be challenged by continued shifts in our business. The connection to our people has to remain a priority.

CEW: There is much said about soft skills in today’s marketplace. How can candidates sharpen their skills?
LMR: Collaboration, leading with empathy, strong communication, creativity and problem-solving have never been more critical. 2020 has forced—or allowed, depending on how you look at it—many of us to take time for ourselves, in a way that maybe wasn’t available previously. My advice would be to take a close look at how you engage with your team, collaborate and communicate. We actually ask talent how they have spent their time during COVID. What spurred creativity? What did they learn about themself? After all, we’re hiring for a different individual who will thrive in this new work environment. Taking online classes, increasing digital skills, or taking advantage of learning more from a member of another team is always important. Leaning into virtual networking, attending virtual events, interviewing and presenting over Zoom are also great ways to hone soft skills.

CEW: What will the employment picture look like in 2021?
LMR: All talent is not created equal. While unemployment hit record-breaking highs this year, there are certain sectors that have been actively hiring throughout the pandemic. Companies that were heavily invested in digital, and expanded their teams ahead of COVID, saw those plans accelerate. While many large organizations have trimmed down hiring, there are plenty of mid-size brands taking advantage of the opportunity to bring on the most sought-after talent in the market. We have seen a number of senior executive changes and expect more to come. We’re working with clients now who are expecting to double their workforce in 2021 and are wasting no time attracting talent.

When I joined 24 Seven in 2009, the outlook was still challenged by the recession. For 24 Seven, the Beauty industry and the volume of hiring – both freelance and full-time–exploded over the next few years. We are feeling an incredible sense of optimism and are remaining close to our talent and client community. 2021 will continue to present challenges and employment will vary across companies, brands, categories and functions. However, Beauty continues to expand, reaching into new categories. The continued focus on Diversity & Inclusion across organizations will foster new hires, and we will also see new roles and functions emerge as a result.

For more information, contact: [email protected] .

Click here for the full report on Hiring in the COVID Economy.

Click here  to view 24 Seven’s Beauty specialty page.