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The Challenges of Recruiting in the Era of Government Bailouts

2020 has presented a number of challenges for the professional world. For hiring managers, and recruiters there is one that stands apart from the pack – having to compete with government bailouts and subsidies when looking to hire talent!

When economies around the world screeched to a halt, many people were laid off. Most people that lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic then received relief in the form of government-issued benefit packages. 

However, once hiring began to ramp up again (at least for some employers), hiring managers and recruiters were presented with a predicament. In many cases, the relief provided to laid off workers actually provided more benefits than they would receive if they began working again. More money, more time, less problems.

For obvious reasons, many people chose to stay unemployed. Why go back to work when you can make more by doing nothing?

To put it bluntly, by increasing unemployment benefits, governments have, unintentionally, encouraged unemployment. 

Many have argued that this could be construed as a good outcome; keeping people at home for as long as possible while still receiving a livable wage could keep the pandemic at bay. Others have retorted that getting people back to work sooner than later has obvious merits for the economy. For recruiters and hiring managers, it is just one more unique challenge to take on in 2020. 

If you are trying to find talent amid this peculiar time, keep reading for some insight. 

How the Benefits Stack Up 

In the United States, many citizens were offered a $1,200 stimulus cheque at the beginning of the pandemic. In addition, anyone who had filed for unemployment would receive an extra $600 a week on top of whatever amount they were already receiving. The first additional stipend ended on July 31st, but many individuals remained on unemployment income, It is yet to be seen if a similar stimulus package will arise over the next few months. 

In Canada, citizens were offered the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which gave $2,000 a month to anyone in the country earning less than $1,000 a month. Under this requirement, individuals could technically still be working while also receiving the CERB benefit. Once CERB ends, people who are still unemployed will be moved back to unemployment benefits, which is determined by personal parameters.

The Dangers of Relying of Government Bailouts

The government increasing supplementary income during a global pandemic was the right action to take. But to continue doing so once the economy has reopened can be dangerous for employers and job seekers alike

It presents obvious disturbances for the employer. If some people can make more money by staying unemployed, then it’s likely that the only people willing to work are individuals whose benefits don’t earn them more money than getting a job.

Therefore, recruiters will necessarily have smaller talent pools to work with, which might result in more difficulty finding candidates and potentially having to settle for lower quality placements.

For job seekers, starting to work again as soon as possible should be a top priority – and for some people, it is. Typically speaking, job seekers are more marketable when they have more experience and as few resume gaps as possible. Employers may be more likely to want to hire someone that demonstrates perseverance and determination to go back to work rather than someone who opted to stay home. The sooner job seekers go back to work, the sooner they can start achieving their short- and long-term career goals. Working also presents significant mental and physical health benefits!

How to Get People Working Again

Eventually, the government benefits are bound to come to an end. But if you are looking to get people back to work before they have no other choice, there are some tactics you can employ that will present employment as a much more attractive option than staying home. The fact of the matter is that job seekers need to view the situation beyond a dollar-for-dollar comparison and be reminded of all the positive aspects of being employed. 

One of the best parts of starting a new job, pandemic or no pandemic, is the benefits that come along with it. Individuals may be earning more income by staying home, but those bailouts don’t come with health insurance, paid time off, lunch per diems, or any other number of incentives that accompany a job. Perks that accommodate mental health and emotional wellbeing should be top of mind, to reflect a shift in what people are prioritizing. If necessary, offering slight wage increases or bonuses is another way to entice people to come back to the office. 

“The fact of the matter is that job seekers need to view the situation beyond a dollar-for-dollar comparison and be reminded of all the positive aspects of being employed.”

While the pandemic is still a pressing issue, making sure your company’s response to COVID-19 is apparent, and the subsequent safety measures to uphold that response are being taken.

All of this being said, economies are making moves in the right direction, albeit slowly. The unemployment rates in both the US and Canada continues to fall – to 8.4% and 10.2%, respectively – and hundreds of thousands of jobs are being added every month. In addition, there are many other reasons why people might not want to return to work if they don’t have to, including health concerns and childcare. Just like every facet of the COVID-19 crisis, finding our way back to normalcy is bound to take some time. 


Mindscope is always eager to join the conversation surrounding employment, recruitment and the latest in the staffing technology. Our brand new UI/UX is here – find out how we can boost your recruitment efforts by contacting us today.