In this blog series, we are going to interview all our Partners and learn how the pandemic is affecting different countries around the globe. Today we are in the USA!

Serving European based clients in North America hiring for highly specialized positions. Typical searches are permanent placements; Managerial, Sales, Engineering, Country Manager, General Manager, Operations Manager, Human Resources, Marketing, Accounting, and other manufacturing-related technical positions. We understand the cultural differences and seek to find the best professionals that fit the culture and help businesses thrive in the USA.

Last week, we had a chance to talk with Sanna Hardin, Managing Director, FAvor Partners USA, and we asked her few questions:

First of all, how are you? We hope that you and your family have stayed healthy during this pandemic.

Yes, we have adjusted to the new normal. Definitely interesting to have everyone work from home. But we are fortunate to be able to maintain and grow business even thru travel restrictions. Some positive: we feel that life has slowed down a bit, and we have had more time to enjoy family time, bike rides, and nature walks. In the USA housing market has been very active. We also sold and bought a house in the midst of the pandemic. In the USA, we celebrate and value philanthropy; our family believes in charity and helping others. We have taken time together to volunteer at the local food bank, and we offer financial assistance to the others that may be lost jobs and not doing as well.

How’s the USA at the moment, or how has it been the last 6 – 7 months?

This has no doubt been a unique year for everyone. In the USA, we experienced a big slowdown from March thru May. With stimulus money, many companies were able to retain the labor force. In June, the reality of business challenges, especially for the companies, is in the service and leisure, other “close contact” environments were challenged, and some businesses were forced to close. There are still layoffs and business closures.

The companies that modified to remote offices and even manufacturing clients that changed their Health and Safety Policies were the ones that have made it OK thru the COVID impact. Manufacturing and supply chain-related business activity has increased in the past four months. There is a sense of business as usual in many sectors. With the exception of aerospace manufacturing, manufacturing, in general, is robust. The construction and home buying sectors are very busy and have had record months. We are expecting economic slowdown.

In addition, the current pending Presidential elections have created uncertainty that can be felt in every aspect of business activity. In general, there is still optimism among CEOs and workers that this is temporary, and things will turn especially once there is a vaccine.

And what about business and the general atmosphere? How the companies are holding up, have there been a lot of layoffs?

The USA is still about 10 million jobs below the normal.

The unemployment rate is higher at 7.9 %, from where we were at 3. 4 % about a year ago. There is a regional variation: there are geographical areas that are doing well, and others that have been impacted harder (California, Nevada, Florida has felt the worse impact).

How do you see the end of 2020? And what about 2021?

We are in an economic slowdown. There are predictions of new stimulus money that will generate economic activity in early 2021, which likely has implications for improvements 2nd quarter of 2021. Recruitment wise, companies are hiring specifically food and supply chain, and now slowly also in hotel and tourism, and hospitality industries in general. Layoffs are still ongoing, and many companies are reducing management overhead. The jobs in tech, healthcare and hospitality have seen a recent boost.

What do you think about the future? What is going to be the biggest difference in the USA if you compare the situation before the pandemic and the possible situation after?

Certainly, we have had to adapt to see how business can be done remotely. Many industries that traditionally have not allowed work from home have accepted it as a productive alternative. The days off having to be in the office or working in a cubicle are over.

The manufacturing sector is having to address employee safety and leave policies. Human Resource departments are busy and somewhat overwhelmed with all the extra work that the pandemic has created.

What kind of roles do you think companies are going to need the most after the pandemic? Do you think there’s some big difference before and after COVID regarding recruitment and headhunting?

Recruitment in the USA has always been challenging. I have recently seen a shift from attracting passive candidates to more qualified candidates looking for work (not job hoppers, but strong candidates). But less movement if you have a good job.

There is always a need for positions that are skilled labor in manufacturing (PLC programmers, field service engineers, service teams). Also, corporate positions that are related to IT, Software systems, Integrations, Human Resource positions, Finance are increasingly important.

Since FAvor helps startup and ramp-up clients from Europe, we are seeing that companies are needing to hire locally. European-based companies that may have in the past sent expertise over simply have to hire someone in the USA to run the business, as the travel restrictions make it challenging to send people overseas. This trend will likely continue, as will remote work and flexibility.

Even USA companies are learning about remote work; “we should have done this long ago, people can be highly productive.” Adaptation is the name of the game. Additionally, companies that motivate and manage remote employees are more likely to succeed in the future.

What tips would you have for foreign job seekers who would like to come and work in the USA?

Would need to refer to an Immigration Attorney.

Currently, in the USA, we have a very protective environment, and there are lots of barriers to allow labor from other countries entering to the USA. Work permits for highly specialized jobs where specific technical knowledge is required may be possible. There are restrictions on immigration in general, and the “green card” process is slower.
If you are a startup company and looking to open an office in the USA, it may be easier to get a work permit for a Country Manager, and the other hires need to be Americans. This is an area that a qualified immigration lawyer is the best person to advise on the current process and procedures.

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