Coronavirus. It has been a tumultuous ride. The masks, the slogans of calling it “the new norm” and the uncertainty of when this will all end has put a lot of people on edge. Fear runs through our veins now and fear dominates the questions both employers and employees are asking.

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The real estate market has shifted and so has the employment supply and demand. Prior to March 2020, it was already a candidate’s market, where candidates cherry-picked the best positions, with the highest bidding salary rates. Employers often found themselves competing for top talent. Fast forward to now and we find ourselves in uncharted waters. Long- standing businesses are closing, Realtors are looking for jobs and layoffs continue to sweep across the real estate industry. But despite all that, it is still a candidate’s market.

Some teams and offices are still thriving amidst this chaos. Growing or replacing team members creates demand for hardworking, smart, career-driven individuals. Candidates, however, have taken a step back.

COVID-19 is now the catalyst for many epiphanies and life-changing decisions. Some candidates are looking to relocate out of the city and will only consider “work from home” opportunities. They are making statements like, “After coronavirus, everyone works from home. There is Zoom and it is 2021. There is no need to work from the office.”

Candidates are also concerned about commuting via public transit. The fear of exposure at the office is real. Potential employees are even refusing to interview in-person. Everyone is asking about what COVID-19 measures the office team have in place. Even before discussing salary or employment details, we are now bombarded with queries such as, “Can’t I work from home rather than commute on transit and go into a workplace where people are not following protocol?”

When the CERB support was available, candidates were questioning whether they should take on work or wait for the $2,000 to deplete. Think about that for a moment: candidates are comparing government support to employment. The candidates are questioning things that they would not have before, while employers are demanding that candidates not take the public transit for the sake of their own safety.

On the other side of the equation, clients are even more interested in finding out private information such as how many kids a candidate has and if they have proper support during this time.

Here’s the kicker: a LOT of candidates are dropping out of the industry completely because they need to manage their kids. It becomes a question of either staying home or changing jobs to positions that provide health benefits, with a set schedule rather than the typical real estate schedule.

Now that we’ve moved over from CERB to CRB, we see that candidates are requesting part-time work and to top it off, requesting the ability to work from home, all while real estate employers are still stuck on paying minimum wage.

It’s a candidate market more now than ever! It’s hard enough in “normal” times to train someone up with all the time, money and resources invested to handle the volume that is coming through. This situation makes it harder.

We’re headed into February in a couple of weeks and already the market has shifted yet again. Let’s see what spring 2021 brings.

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