Corporate Hiring under COVID-19: Worker Downskilling, Job Flexibility, and Income Inequality
59 Pages Posted: 11 May 2020 Last revised: 15 Sep 2020
Date Written: May 8, 2020
Big data on job vacancy postings reveal multiple facets of the impact of Covid-19 on the U.S. job market. Firms have disproportionately cut on hiring for high-skill jobs (downskilling), with small firms nearly halting their hiring altogether. New-hiring cuts and downskilling are most pronounced in labor markets where employment is concentrated within a few firms, in low-income areas, and in areas with greater income inequality. Access to finance modulates corporate hiring, with credit-constrained firms curtailing their high-skill postings the most. Applying machine learning techniques to job ads, we show that firms have skewed their new hiring towards operationally core positions. New positions also display greater flexibility regarding schedules, tasks, and requirements. A "time-to-fill" measure reveals that high-skill job openings remain active for longer in the pandemic, while posting duration drops for low-skill jobs. Our study shows how the 2020 global pandemic shaped the dynamics of hiring, identifying the firms, jobs, places, industries, and labor markets most affected by it.
Keywords: COVID-19, Corporate hiring, Human capital, Skilled labor, Credit access
JEL Classification: E24, J23, G31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation