March Update from ProSearch’s President and Founder, Ed McKersie
It’s hard to believe that it has been a full year since COVID affected all of us in so many ways. Hard to believe because in some ways it has gone by quickly, and in other ways it seems like so, so long ago since we were able to go to restaurants, events, see our family and friends without masks, and go to our places of work each day.
At ProSearch, last year was a story of four very different quarters. The first quarter of 2020 started out as 2019 had ended- very low unemployment, our clients growing, and our team working hard to keep up with a great employment market. All of that changed in the second quarter. Several of our larger clients felt the impact in a major way, and some laid-off our temporary employees (along with some of their own) and were unable to bring on new employees while they waited to see if business would stabilize. Employers in all industries focused on setting up their employees to work remotely. Remember before you had ever heard of Zoom? In the third quarter, demand for our temporary services increased, but even as we had new people starting assignments, many were sent home for days and weeks at a time due to someone testing positive for COVID at the worksite. By the fourth quarter, our temporary services team was back at pre-COVID levels, and we were finding creative ways to partner with employers in areas we hadn’t focused on in the past.
Throughout 2020, our IT Contract team stayed relatively busy, but as employers began to cancel or postpone projects, we saw demand fall off in the third and fourth quarters. We are proud that we were able to partner with clients as their need for tech support and helpdesk resources jumped in response to moving to a remote workforce.
Our Direct Hire team had its best year ever in 2020, due to that most job seekers put their searches on hold as they navigated their current employment situation (working remotely, taking on more tasks). This created an even tighter employment market, especially for more senior-level positions.
As I write this, we are back to record levels of engagement and results. Our team has transitioned to a combination of remote and on-site work and we still have our weekly Zoom meetings to stay on top of our clients’ priorities. We have always allowed a flexible on-site schedule for our teams, which made the transition to fully remote easier for us than for many employers.
Reflecting on the past 12 months, I can say I have never been prouder of my fellow co-owners/ProSearchers. Working remotely has in many ways brought us closer together and increased our focus. I am also proud and grateful for the partnerships we have built with Maine employers. The trust they have placed in our team, especially during these challenging times, is humbling and greatly appreciated. Finally, I have been so impressed by the resiliency of our temporary and contract employees.
Here’s to more success and progress for the rest of 2021 and beyond.
Ed McKersie, President and Founder of ProSearch