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What Long-Term Impact Will COVID-19 Have on Executive Recruiting? (3 Predictions and 4 Recommendations for Employers)

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on corporate America. Most companies were forced to shut down their offices, and most people were forced to work from home. In addition, millions of people were furloughed or laid off.

Even after there is a vaccine, things are not going to go back to “business as usual.” There will be long-term changes, both in regard to how and where we work and also in regard to how and where companies recruit. This article features three predictions on the long-term impact that COVID-19 will have on executive recruiting. Four recommendations for employers are also included.

Prediction #1: Competition will become even more fierce for top talent.

During the shutdown, many companies realized that their employees can be at least as productive when working from home as when working in the office. In addition, many companies expanded the regions where they would typically recruit (since people would not be coming into an office anyway).

While COVID-19 will not result in every executive search becoming a national search, there will definitely be more remote hires in the years to come than there would have been if there had never been a shutdown. This also means that competition for top talent will become even more fierce in the future.

Before COVID-19, a company might have only had to compete with local employers when it came to recruiting and retaining top talent. As a result of COVID-19, many companies will now have to compete for top talent with employers all over the U.S.

Prediction #2: Executives will continue to expect greater flexibility from employers.

During the shutdown, many executives realized that they can be at least as productive when working from home. In addition, many also realized that they like not having to spend so much time commuting and traveling for work.

Executives will expect employers to remain flexible about working remote, even as more physical offices re-open and even after there is a vaccine. The days of being in the office or on the road five days a week are gone for the foreseeable future, and perhaps forever.

Prediction #3: Certain industries will experience a mass exodus of talent.

There have been mass layoffs and furloughs in industries that have been hit hard. Many of those people will never go back to those industries, opting instead to move into industries that are positioned for greater success over the next few years. Of those who are still working at companies in hard-hit industries, many of them are surely looking to get out and move into another industry soon.

In general, companies that rely on in-person interactions have been crushed. For example, retail businesses and hospitality and leisure companies (i.e. airlines and hotels) have really suffered. Many top performers will find their way out of struggling companies/industries and into companies/industries that are better positioned for the next few years.

Recommendations for Employers  

Even after there is a vaccine, the shutdown’s impact will continue to influence how and where companies recruit. Here are four recommendations on how employers should move forward for the foreseeable future:

  1. Make employee engagement and retention an even bigger priority. As top performers have more options on where and how they can work in the future, it will be even more important for companies to focus on taking care of their people. This will be especially true for companies in struggling industries.
  2. Remain flexible with work-from-home policies. Employees will expect their employers to remain flexible about working remote. If possible, let your people determine how often they want to be in the office. Some people might want to work from home all of the time, while others might prefer to go into an office all of the time. In addition, many people will prefer some sort of mix, rather than an all-or-nothing approach.
  3. Expand your recruiting geography for certain roles. In addition to local recruiting, target top performers in regions where your company does not have any physical office locations. If your company presents a compelling value proposition, you might attract some exceptional people who would not have considered a remote work opportunity before the shutdown.
  4. Pursue top performers in hard-hit businesses. In addition to the companies and industries where you typically search for executives, target top performers in other companies and industries that have been hit especially hard. If your company presents a compelling value proposition, you might attract some exceptional people who would not have considered leaving their current company/industry before the shutdown.

P.S. Looking for more help with your company’s executive recruiting efforts?

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About the author: As the Founder of Stronger Talent, Pete Leibman recruits exceptional leaders for innovative sports, fitness, and wellness companies. Throughout his career, Pete has helped clients recruit exceptional leaders at the Board, C-Suite, Senior Vice President, Vice President, General Manager, Managing Director, and Director levels. Pete’s work has been featured on Fox News, CBS Radio, and, and he is the author of two books and over 250 articles on career management, peak performance, and executive recruiting.

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