This might not be the best time to be looking for a job in the office technology industry.
But then again, maybe it is. It depends on how valuable you are to your organization and others.
Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic is shaking things up across the office technology industry as employers and employees navigate its economic and employment fallout. Let’s delve into what’s going on with the help of Paul Schwartz, president of Copier Careers, and Copier Careers Business Development Manager Jessica Crowley. Copier Careers is a recruiting firm specializing in the office technology industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic has enabled some organizations across the office technology industry to clean house. We have spoken with some dealers who have used this economic environment to cut loose low-performing employees. And we know of at least one OEM that has made permanent staff reductions after furloughing those employees even though those were reductions were reportedly going to happen later this year anyway. The pandemic just accelerated these moves.
This trend was validated by Schwartz and Crowley. They have clients who have decided not to bring back some employees because of performance issues while others have realized, after an employee was furloughed, the employee was expendable.
We Can Do Better
The last time I spoke with Schwartz and Crowley it was a month into the pandemic. At that time, Copier Careers was inundated with résumés from copier industry professionals who had been laid off or furloughed. Those résumés continue to flow into Copier Careers as are calls from clients in the dealer principals and the OEMs who are looking to strengthen their bench with a higher caliber of talent that might not have been available before the pandemic. These positions range from sales to service, to operations, to back office, to the C-suite.
“Over the past six weeks, the number of active job orders has grown significantly,” reported Crowley.
Maybe, Maybe Not
Another interesting dynamic is at play and that is not every employee who was furloughed wants to return now that employers are bringing employees back. This is something Copier Careers has heard from multiple clients.
“Maybe they don’t feel comfortable coming back because they’re afraid of the virus,” speculated Schwartz. “But there are other situations where it’s a financial decision not to return because the unemployment compensation is higher than what they were getting paid.”
One dealer principal told Schwartz that several service techs have told him that they weren’t coming back because they are comfortable with the way things are right now.
“They felt there was essentially zero unemployment among technicians prior to the pandemic and at some point it will return to that and the dealer will need them,” said Schwartz.
That’s a risk that might not be worth taking.
“Clients have said to me that they’re probably not going to consider them again,” said Schwartz.
Surprisingly, this attitude among furloughed employees who are not ready to return isn’t age-related. One might think techs on the verge of retirement might be less interested in coming back, but the response spans the generations.
Failures to Communicate
Another factor that could impact whether employees remain with current employers or seek opportunities elsewhere is communication or the lack of it with their employer. Some furloughed employees are frustrated because they have not heard from their employers since the furlough started. This seems to be more prevalent with individuals who were furloughed by the OEMs, according to comments received in a recent Copier Careers poll.
Do I Have to Do This All Over Again?
This situation is also challenging senior leadership at some large regional dealerships as well as small and medium-sized dealerships. These are people who managed through the transition from analog to digital, managed through the consolidation in the industry, managed through 9/11, and managed through the great recession. Continuing to manage through a pandemic with no end in sight is a hill that they may not want to climb.
“They say that this type of disruption accelerates things that were already going to happen,” observed Schwartz. “Who knows how long this will go on and what the solution is. If you’ve been doing this for 40 years, you might not want to go through another round of this.”
Access Related Content