How is the job market reacting to the crisis?

June 10, 2020 - In the Spotlight

We surveyed our network in order to paint a portrait of the Quebec job market, currently undergoing a major transformation, in spite of itself.

After recording a record unemployment rate in the midst of the pandemic – jumping from 7.8% to 17% last April, and then dropping back to 13.7% this June – we were curious to see how this new reality was affecting professionals and workers throughout Quebec.

More than a hundred people responded to our survey, launched on our social networks last month, and gave their opinions on four predefined themes:

  • sales in their organization
  • burden of work
  • employment status
  • searching (actively or not) for a new opportunity – for those currently unemployed or temporarily laid off.

Here is our analysis!


Buying habits are slowing down and its hurting entrepreneurs. While the agri-food sector is quickly picking up pace since the beginning of the crisis, our survey also highlighted increases in revenues in the finance and insurance sector. Not surprisingly, all other sectors are showing declines, including retail, arts and entertainment, construction, and accommodation and food services. In all, 64% of respondents reported declining sales in their organizations, while a mere 9% reported an increase. The remaining 27% reported that it has remained stable. While initiatives such as the Blue Basket, the Regroupement des firmes de services professionnels indépendants and #onseserrelescoudes are encouraging the consumption of local goods and services to support local businesses, people are still shying away from their old spending habits, with a job on the line and COVID putting their active lifestyle on hold.


The workload during this pandemic varies greatly depending on the sector. It is important to celebrate all the health care workers who are doing superhuman work in exceptional circumstances – and who did not have time to complete our survey: very understandably being busy saving lives – and who are currently dealing with their heaviest workload ever. That said, agri-food, transportation and warehousing, public administration, finance and insurance, and public services are busier than ever. Human resources and communications professionals are also at the core of the storm and their services are in high demand, due to the restructuring issues and change management challenges generated by COVID among organizations. That said, although 30% of respondents say they are busier, a significant 45% are experiencing major slowdowns, particularly in the areas of marketing and organizational development.


Overall, 71% of the respondents were employed or leading an organization at the time of the survey, while 29% were unemployed or temporarily laid off. The areas of expertise most affected by the cuts are marketing, sales/business development and organizational development. On the other hand, the following sectors are the ones navigating this crisis with the least consequences: information technology, human resources, digital, operations and communications. Unsurprisingly, and as deplored in the media, the sectors most affected by the cuts are accommodation and food services, construction, retail, arts and entertainment, and wholesale trade.


Among those temporarily laid off or unemployed, it is interesting to see that 21% are taking advantage of this time to rest, while 79% are actively looking for a new opportunity. In general, the more senior the candidate, the less hasty the search. The same is true for people in marketing and organizational development, who are in less of a hurry to return to work than their colleagues in sales and business development. When we take a closer look at the various sectors, many professionals are currently seeking and very much available for new mandates! Accommodation and food services, construction, wholesale trade, arts and entertainment, as well as the services and retail sectors are full of talent in search of their next challenge!

Among other things, this survey highlights some of the key players in this crisis, including human resources and communications professionals. As such, La tête chercheuse is proud to be able to offer its support to these pillars of our Quebec companies, thanks to headhunting services nested in these areas, but also with a brand new service offer: “To your rescue” aimed at supporting HR talents dealing with increasing demands and initiatives, in an all-inclusive mode. Now that the deconfinement has begun, we are curious to see where the next few months will take us. How to you envision the job market 6 months from now?


Was this article helpful?

Share this article