By David Taylor

Suffice to say, the coronavirus ‘pandemic’ (as it is now officially classified) continues to dominate the headlines. The travel and leisure sectors have clearly been the hardest hit so far with multiple flight routes cancelled, restaurants and bars shutting down, and hotels, cruise lines and tour operators experiencing a significant downturn in business. However, all industries will be affected. Across the TMT sector, we have seen announcements in recent days from the major film studios of delays to movie filming. We have also heard from market analysts predicting a sizable impact on the advertising industry, due to uncertainty related to marketing around packaged goods in retail (often linked to Chinese supply chain). Major IT businesses will also suffer considering similar Chinese supply chain challenges.

With the UK joining many other countries by attempting to restrict movement and moving largely to home working, we will need to change the way we work.

Considering the recruitment industry is often driven by face to face meetings, a ‘lockdown’ is potentially very damaging. Recruitment consultants meeting clients; the hiring company expecting the agency to have met their candidates; companies typically preferring to meet candidates in person rather than video or phone calls. These are all potential challenges.

The world needs to keep turning, so the important thing is to find solutions, and the tech and media industries are at the forefront of those solutions. Remote working has been possible for a long time but has perhaps not been fully embraced across the board. New technologies have made it much easier over the last few years, with applications such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams enabling video calls and conferencing, and creating a more seemless ‘work from home’ environment. The coronavirus outbreak feels like a significant moment for the tech and media industry in terms of accelerating the continued move to more home working and the inevitable journey towards remote hiring. Why can’t we hire someone from a video meeting? Is it just because we haven’t done it before?

It sounds cynical but remote working technology companies are sure to be ‘winners’ out of this (if there is such a thing) as coronavirus could accelerate improvements in this area.

Ultimately companies still need to hire top talent, and technology can facilitate that during a challenging time. It seems that HSBC are leading the way on this. In a recent post, on their recruitment page for the Hong Kong office, they commented: “Due to the current situation related to the novel coronavirus, we’re leveraging our digital capabilities to ensure we can continue to recruit top talent at HSBC.”

We can all take a leaf out of HSBC’s book here!

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