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The Effect of COVID-19 on The Automotive Recruitment Market: An AutoStream Case Study

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The Effect of COVID-19 on The Automotive Recruitment Market: An AutoStream Case Study

Posted on February 2021

​The arrival of COVID-19 turned the global recruitment market upside down. As with every industry across the globe, ambiguity soon surrounded jobs in automotive and uncertainty eclipsed the sector. However, AutoStream saw a rapid return to familiarity once clients and candidates settled into the ‘new normal’.

Here we will look at the pandemic’s evolving effect on the automotive recruitment market. We will also share some insights from our Talent Director, John Martin, on the effect of COVID on the hiring process at AutoStream.

The Arrival of COVID-19: How Did it Shock the Market?

The arrival of a worldwide pandemic disrupted the balance of the candidate market in a huge way.

Regarding the arrival of COVID-19, John Martin notes:

“What we initially saw was a knee-jerk reaction to businesses cutting costs by using the furlough scheme, but then more so moving straight to redundancies.

Several of our key clients sit further back in the supply chain, meaning the end clients postponing projects had a knock-on effect to our customer base and made it tougher to hire.”

The Progression of COVID-19: How Did the Market Adapt?

As the pandemic progressed, clients and candidates began to accept the ‘new normal’ was not going to go away any time soon, and there was a shift from ambiguity to optimism.

Towards the back end of Q2, many clients realised that remote working could be just as productive—if not more productive—as our previous ways of working. This hopeful shift in trust was mirrored at AutoStream where we secured an abundance of new jobs, in turn leading us to a record Q3.

How Did COVID-19 Affect Workplace Communication and The Hiring Process?

Adapting to remote work was as challenging on a personal level as it was technologically.

Speaking to John Martin about how the pandemic affected communication with clients and candidates across the globe, he notes:

“On the communication front, it´s been tough. Clients are no longer in the office, so our only true form of communication is email, and when you have your primary channels now being email, response times can be slow.”

Yet, mirroring the optimistic shifts in the market as the pandemic continued, we adapted and evolved.

As well as disrupting communication, COVID-19 also had a dramatic effect on the hiring process. This again came down to ambiguity in the market, and reflecting this, a certain client and candidate wariness during any given hiring process.

Candidate commitment was a prominent issue at the start of the pandemic. As candidates were not able to meet their potential teams or explore their potential workplaces, they were naturally cautious of firmly committing to a role. Mirroring this trend, the average ‘time to hire’ from a candidate’s initial interview to their acceptance of a final offer fell slightly from 13 business days to around 9 business days at AutoStream.

Regarding the ambiguity surrounding the hiring process, John Martin notes:

“Whilst clients did adopt a new strategy and start to either shorten processes or hire based on video conferencing, we also saw a reduction in candidate commitment due to the fact that they could not visit sites, see and meet potential colleagues, or get an all-round feel for the environment they would eventually be working in.”

To learn more about how COVID-19 has affected the automotive recruitment space, contact our team. Looking for a new contract or permanent job in the automotive sector? Explore our range of open roles.

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