The Great Migration?

Are companies that didn’t treat their employees well over the last 12 months during the pandemic, going to be held accountable?

What will be the possible fallout? Here we take a step backward to look forward and also look at some companies that seem to be getting it right and what they are doing to ensure they stay competitive to secure the talent they need to succeed.

“The Great Recession” Insight to a Post-Covid World

History tells us that companies that took advantage of the situation to lower salaries (even when they were profitable during the lockdowns) may experience a mass exodus. 

Let’s look back on some recent history – going back to 2008 during the great market crash for some context.

Most of what’s been written about 2008 was reflected in articles back around 2018 – 10 years after the crash. Little did we know that only 2 years later, we’d experience yet another catastrophic moment that affected the entire world with COVID. 

Some observations since 2008:

  1. “The Great Recession” wiped out what amounted to every U.S. job created in the 21st century at the time.

  2. Rapid advancements in technology and the opening of new international markets paid dividends for American companies but not for American workers.

  3. Job destruction spiked in each of the decade’s two recessions. In contrast to the pattern of past recessions, when many employers recalled laid-off workers after growth picked up again, after 2008 that didn’t happen.

  4. After the crash – companies hoarded the almost $2 trillion in savings from tax breaks and stimulus – rather than using it on expanding the payroll or training

In the last 10 years we’re still learning from what happened in ‘08 on a number of fronts especially as it relates to Millennials – and now we’re seeing the impact on the younger Gen Z.

Those that graduated during the recovery make less than their older Gen X peers, and it’s been estimated it is going to take them an average of 10 to 20 years to catch up.

The idea of a “gig” economy had flourished over the last few years since the great crash – mainly due to underemployment of folks not being able to obtain full time roles that they desire, with the health benefits they need.

“Wait and See Approach” to Hiring

Employers have always laid people off during times of financial uncertainty – but they’ve gotten much more aggressive as we saw during the height of the pandemic last year around this time – with some layoffs averaging up to 30% of all staff (or worse 50% or greater – depending on the industries such as Air, Hospitality and Entertainment.)

Many companies are now re-hiring at lower comp levels or only allowing for temporary roles as they take a “wait and see” attitude to the evolving pandemic fallout which has been uneven throughout the country and across industries. These companies will be surprised at the results. Lower job search volume, competition with unemployment benefits and competing with themselves.

Today’s job seeker is also looking at how companies handled Covid. If they had layoffs what did they do?

Some companies went out of their way to find new jobs, new skills and more, supporting their employees as best as they can, utilizing the stimulus money provided to support their employees.

Some have even gone as far as guaranteeing compensation for as long as they could to help give their employees a softer landing, vs an abrupt layoff.

It’s these companies we predict will fare the best post pandemic and see less migration.

Who Got it Right


Hyatt’s leadership team started its journey with listening—crucial to practicing empathy and delivering authentic care. In response to what [they] heard, [they] began to experiment with several new initiatives for both [their] guests and [their] colleagues.

They asked a simple question: “How are you?”

Today Tyronne Stoudemire, Vice President of Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Hyatt Hotels Corp recently told Travel Weekly when talking about their recruiting efforts, “People believe that hospitality’s biggest asset is technology, but our biggest asset is actually our ability to build relationships. And those who foster more inclusive and diverse relationships are definitely better positioned to retain and attract talent.”

Hyatt did many things right.

  1. They listened to employees

  2. Allowed for employees to receive unemployment by giving a furlough.

  3. Provided financial support for those in the greatest need.

  4. Partnered with companies whose hiring demands were growing due to covid for those that wanted to work during their furlough.

Changes for Employees Too?

Is there any upside for any of this for employees? 

Fortunately yes, but again, the ability to enjoy these benefits aren’t equally distributed and mainly are only perks that non-hourly workers can enjoy.

Things like working where and when you want are looking like they’re here to stay. Most companies are now offering the ability to work via a hybrid model (some work from home and in office days), and more flexibility around child care. These are all very good things.

For those that are hourly workers – there are some other encouraging trends noted by that are likely here to stay as well.

  1. Ninety-six percent of CEOs surveyed by Deloitte say DE&I is a strategic priority for the coming year

  2. Employer-funded education and learning will stay online, even as the pandemic subsides 

  3. Employers won’t want to choose between “human” skills and technical skills. They need both. 

It’s not too late to look at what’s happening in your organization if you believe that you may have missed the mark this past year.

For employers, improvements can still be made.  It’s a very good time to be introspective – and realistic, but again, not too late to address things that could have possibly been handled differently looking back upon some difficult choices that companies had to make over the last 10 months.

Moving Forward

Whether you “did it right” or fear that you may not have done all you could – there are so many ways to support your current course or improve your situation.

For those that have done a great job and your company has supported it’s employees as best as it can – you’re probably assuming that hiring will be super easy as the economy gets its feet back under itself right?

Well, based on history there will be work to do- you’ll still find yourself battling for great talent as the playing field is going to be wide open with folks jumping from roles where they’re unhappy.

If you find yourself in a place where you need to recruit and hire faster then looking at solutions like JobSync that sync your apply process with your other TA tech applications to remove friction driving quality candidates faster while also saving valuable recruiter time is essential.

You can also leverage smaller nimbler recruitment ad agencies that can help you move faster at a lower cost – like  The Gerson Agency enabling you to do more with less.

The bottom line is that if you are still taking the “wait and see” approach chances are you will find yourself losing ground as the competition for talent heats up.

JobSync Contributing Author & Partner

Mitch is the founder of The Gerson Agency and began his career at Bernard Hodes Group, having run his own sub-division for over 16 years within the agency. It was there that he flourished, building a career there that afforded him the opportunity to work with a number of Fortune 100 companies, including familiar names such as Campbell Soup Company, PetSmart, ADP, CVS Health, L-Brands, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Hasbro Toys, Kelly Services, Pace University (enrollment), Columbia University (enrollment), and many others.

During his 20 years in the industry, Mitch has also spent a number of years at both TMP Worldwide and Recruitics. He has become well-known for his award-winning and unconventional thinking over the course of this career in the EMA, CEA, and related organizations, garnering recognition for top professional team, personal creativity, and campaigns.