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Hospitality industry making plans to bring back jobs ‘really quickly’: CareerBuilder CEO

Shutdowns prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to devastate workers in the hospitality industry, as slower-than-expected vaccine distribution and new variants raise concerns about when American life will return to normal.

Meanwhile, the sector has already suffered staggering damage. It cut nearly half a million jobs in December and saw a total loss of 3.9 million positions since February 2020, according to a jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last month.

But companies in the sector plan to bring back jobs “really quickly,” says Irina Novoselsky, CEO of the online recruitment website CareerBuilder. She said hospitality companies are preparing for a “V-shaped” recovery triggered by widespread vaccination that unleashes pent-up demand for travel.

“As soon as people get vaccinated, there's an expectation that people are going to hit the hospitality sector pretty quickly,” she says. “Wanting to travel; wanting to get out there because they’ve been cooped up for several months.”

“So those industries particularly are really spending a lot of time with us on: How do they plan to have a workforce get to work really quickly?” she adds. “Versus some of the other ones that are expecting a little bit more of a U [shaped recovery].”

Despite her optimism, the pandemic shows little sign of letting up in its assault on the job market after putting tens of millions of people out of work. In each of two consecutive weeks in mid-January, 900,000 or more Americans filed new unemployment claims — a figure not seen since last August. The January jobs report is due out on Friday.

President Joe Biden and Democratic Congressional leaders have pushed for a $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan that includes a $400 unemployment insurance supplement, a minimum wage hike, and $1,400 stimulus checks. The potential economic lifeline for struggling Americans aims to support jobless Americans until health officials contain the virus and the economy reopens.

CareerBuilder CEO Irina Novoselsky speaks with Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer on an episode of "Influencers with Andy Serwer."
CareerBuilder CEO Irina Novoselsky speaks with Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer on an episode of "Influencers with Andy Serwer."

Novoselsky, who joined CareerBuilder in 2017, spoke to Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer in an episode of “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment.

To get where she is today, Novoselsky, 35, worked 50-hour weeks at Morgan Stanley to put herself through New York University’s Stern School of Business, and rose quickly up the ranks to become president at the cloud company Novitex.

CareerBuilder, founded in 1995, matches job applicants with potential employers, offering a platform for more than 160 million prospective employees with user profiles and the companies that seek to hire them.

Unlike hospitality, some sectors have fared well amid COVID-19, including gaming, financial services, and insurance, Novoselsky said. But she said in many cases a worker’s fate owes to the specifics of their job, rather than the industry in which it’s situated.

Novoselsky highlighted software developers as a job cohort that companies continue to seek in large numbers.

“So if you're thinking about what to recertify or where to retrain,” she says. “There's definitely a lot of these roles that are in high demand and not a lot of supply today.”

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