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May 18, 2020 Recruitment Trends Since COVID-19 Outbreak Richard Green - Director of Business Development

Recruitment Trends Since COVID-19 Outbreak

If you’ve been glued to the news like most of society, you already know that unemployment is at an all-time high across the globe. As of April, over 30 million Americans are unemployed, and 6.3 million workers have been furloughed in the UK. Recruitment trends have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

As the pandemic continues to impact the economy, world leaders are navigating how to safely reopen various industries to prevent even further damage.  

However, with no confirmed timeline in sight for a vaccine and the world attempting to get back to work, the reality is sinking in that life outside will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.  

A “new normal” lays on the horizon and understanding how to navigate it will be crucial for online recruitment.  

Millions of people around the world are unemployed, and career centers will play an extremely important role over the coming months.  

Yet, the fact of the matter is COVID-19 has caused jobseeker behavior to change and those behavioral changes will likely remain intact as the world reopens.  

With one of the largest data sets in the recruitment industry, we analyzed our library of career sites to identify trends in jobseeker behavior since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Jobseeker Keyword Search During COVID19 

Prior to the global pandemic popular job searches included keywords like “Project Manager”, “Marketing Assistant”, “Teacher”, or “Driver”. 

In the wake of COVID19, jobseeker searches have changed. With society practicing social distancing and countries worldwide in complete lockdown, keywords now revolve around remote working. 

While this isn’t surprising, what’s interesting is the different keyword phrases being used across career sites and even in different regions.  

Looking at phrasing in Google searches we see the different phrases being applied to the same topic. 

Google trends measuring Google searches 1 Mar to 6 Apr 2020. 

  • Home working 
  • Working from home 
  • Remote working 
  • Remote jobs 

The term ‘remote work’ is being used in the media at present due to the current situation. But it is traditionally used more in the tech and start-up sectors and has traditionally been used more in the US than the UK. Home learning has also seen a massive increase as well (and remote learning). 

If we dive even deeper into the data and look at how searches around these keywords varies by country, it reflects the importance of understanding how jobseekers navigate job searches during the COVID19 outbreak.  




Upon analyzing searches across our various career sites, we found similar phrasing ranking in the following order: 

1. Remote 

2. Home based 

3. Work from home 

4. Home 

5. Home working 

6. Remote working 

Google BERT Update 

In the context of Google for Jobs, these variances may not significantly impact populated search results thanks to their BERT update in 2019. 

The BERT update improved interpretation of search queries and now enables Google to display more accurate, relevant search results. Basically, Google's algorithm now better understands the context of content through natural language processing. 

This means that if a jobseeker searches for “work from home” Google understands that other search queries like “remote work”, “home working”, and similar phrasing all have the same context. It then populates relevant results that have similar keywords.      

As seen in the above image, Google for Jobs search results populates relevant job ads whether the keywords are “work from home” or “remote”. 

Keyword Variances in the Context of Career Centers 

While Google provided a solution for enriching search, our own Global Jobseeker Survey found that many jobseekers struggle with search when navigating career centers.  


This is a common problem with many job boards, even the likes of Indeed and Glassdoor. A good example of this is if a jobseeker searches for a Marketing Assistant role. Alongside getting the right results, they’ll also get results for positions like Personal Assistant to VP, Administrative Assistant, Assistant Store Manager, etc. 

As you can see in the below image, while Indeed has added updates to identify jobs that have remote work options, not all their results are relevant to the search query. 



The New Normal: Remote Work Keyword Searches are Here to Stay 

By now it should be apparent that remote work will become standard in the workplace even when the economy reopens.  

A forecast from Global Workplace Analytics (GWA) estimated that 25-30% of the workforce will continue working at home on a multiple-days-a-week basis by the end of 2021. 

Remote working search queries will become as common as the average “Project Manager” keyword search.  

Working at home, due to the Covid-19 lockdown is being mentioned in job ads frequently as many home working roles will be temporary. 


If your career center is not equipped with true AI and Machine Learning to accurately identify all relevant job ads for a specific search query, you risk losing engagement and conversion from the millions of active jobseekers that will sweep over the recruitment industry in the coming months. 

Get our complete analysis in our latest report, Jobseeker Trends Since the COVID-19 Outbreak.

In this report you'll get insights into:

  • The impact on traffic and application rates
  • Forecasts for recruitment benchmarks
  • Forecasts for recovery of the unemployment rate
  • Jobseeker keyword search behavior during COVID19 pandemic
  • What solutions your job board should offer to adapt to jobseeker trends
  • Additional content resources your careers site should offer