Newsletter September 2020
Recruiters for the Copier Channel® for more than 30 years, Copier Careers® has been the only recruiting firm exclusively dedicated to connecting Copier Channel employers with experienced service technicians, copier sales representatives, sales managers, service & operations managers, controllers, support staff, and MPS/MNS experts. Start your month off right with Newsletter September 2020: Copier Channel news and career advice. Search copier jobs now.
IN THIS MONTH’S NEWSLETTER
Share Your 2020 COVID Disruption Story
How is the Pandemic Affecting the Copier Channel?
News from Copier Careers, Samsung, Kodak & Canon
Sound Off: Rate your company’s communication
Poll-of-the-Month: What trend do you predict next for the Copier Channel?
Since March, we’ve been covering the many disruptions from the pandemic. But we don’t want the global or even the industry-wide changes to overshadow the personal – you shouldn’t get lost in the statistics.
We want to hear from you – please fill out our brief survey and tell us how the pandemic has affected you. Your comments may be anonymously featured in an upcoming publication!
Copier Careers has worked with the Copier Channel for over thirty years and one of the most incredible things we’ve witnessed is the staying power of the independent dealership. From black-and-white analog copiers to today’s wide array of sophisticated business solutions, the Copier Channel has continually evolved to better serve today’s businesses. We’re currently facing a disruption on a global scale with challenges to both our personal and professional lives. The pandemic forces us all to change our practices and expectations and no one knows how it’s going to shake out yet. Our recruiters, however, are in daily contact with hundreds of industry professionals and leaders. Here are a few trends they’ve observed.
First and foremost, there are a ton of displaced workers. March and April saw an historic employment reduction of 22.2 million workers in the US. Since then, we have used our monthly polls to track how the pandemic is affecting the Copier Channel. In April we polled 12.9 thousand and found 54% were still working full-time, 15% were working reduced hours, 17% were furloughed and 14% were let go. In July we polled another 19.5 thousand and found 46% were working full-time, 11% were working reduced hours, 20% were furloughed and 23% were unemployed.
Of those unemployed in July, only 57.5% said were actively job hunting. Anecdotally, our recruiters found many of those laid off in March and April were just too shocked and overwhelmed to start their job search right away. There is also a general perception that there just aren’t any jobs out there. Most are surprised to hear that employers are currently hiring (they are). These folks would entirely miss out on new employment opportunities if our recruiters didn’t find them. The good news is getting out though – we’ve had an increasing stream of candidates ready to discuss their options over the summer.
Similarly, people who were initially furloughed were often willing to wait for their employers to recall them. Unfortunately, those who are still furloughed are growing increasingly concerned they won’t be brought back to work. Some folks haven’t heard a peep from their employers since they were furloughed back in April – that’s more than four months of silence. We’ve heard a lot more from these abandoned people lately; many are still loyal to their employers but just unable to live in this limbo any longer.
Among the people actively on the job hunt, we’ve noticed a few trends. In general, candidates are more open to relocating for a new job. Moving doesn’t seem quite so daunting when your life is already disrupted. Many are also simply reevaluating where they want to live based on local events. More people are understandably looking for remote work position, particularly in sales roles. This might be for their health or for that of a family member or because they liked working remotely when given the chance.
But what about professionals who are currently working? For the most part, they recognize how lucky they are. Those who kept their jobs, were brought back from furlough or were recently hired are all displaying higher loyalty to their current employers. If they have a fairly stable job, they are unwilling to risk something new unless the opportunity is exceptional.
Leaders have had their work cut out for them since March. They’ve had to navigate this volatile landscape with no clear path forward. They’ve had to make tough choices for not just for the health and safety of their employees, customers and communities, but for the very future of their companies. We’ve spoken to many leaders heartbroken by layoffs, confused by furloughs, exhausted by financial aid paperwork, frustrated by supply shortages and stymied by countless other roadblocks.
We’ve also seen them step up and get creative. Leaders in the business solutions industry are already adept at adapting to shifting needs. We’ve seen them add sanitation and PPE to their office supply services, rig up health checkpoint kiosks, support the sudden surge for remote offices and more for their clients. These leaders have made their companies more essential to the modern office than ever before. These well-positioned, forward-thinking leaders are changing this difficult situation into an opportunity to grow.
If this surprises you, consider the current candidate pool. The shocking spring layoffs included highly-qualified employees who would never have been let go under normal circumstances. As we’ve been saying for years, the Copier Channel job market is extremely tight. The number one factor holding back company growth has been the supply of qualified personnel. Now, there are game-changing professionals out there looking for a company with a promising future. As a result, an increasing number of our clients are bulking up their technical, sales, office support, management and even executive rosters. These leaders are examining any potential weaknesses revealed by this sudden disruption, and shoring up key departments for future growth.
Among some leaders, this future-focus is inspiring an entirely different (and unexpected) trend. Particularly among senior executives and management, we’ve heard a similar refrain: “I saw this company through 9/11, through the Great Recession, through all the recent technological innovations – I’m just not up for yet another disruption. Let the next generation give it a go.” These leaders – who, pre-COVID, weren’t planning to retire for a few more years – are now actively looking for their own replacements.
In the market for a new job? Our job board features hundreds of copier jobs with top employers, updated daily. Search jobs now.
Join Us for The Cannata Report Webinar!
Paul Schwartz and Jessica Crowley of Copier Careers will be speaking with The Cannata Report in their upcoming Business as Unusual Webinar: Hiring and Retention in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, September 24th at 2 PM EDT/11 AM PDT! Register to join the free webinar!
Missed it? Watch the recording here!
Samsung Heir Indicted (Again)
Lee Jae-young, heir to Samsung, was recently indicted for “engaging in stock price manipulation, unfair trading and other illegal means to tighten his control” over South Korea’s biggest conglomerate. Lee has not been arrested (this time) due to the court’s refusal to issue an arrest warrant. This has fueled speculation that the prosecution’s case is too weak to prevail. Considering how Lee skated out of a five-year jail sentence for a corruption scandal that took down the president of South Korea in 2017, any case brought against him has to be a slam dunk.
Kodak Share Soar (Again)
Kodak is becoming synonymous with volatility. Stocks soared over 300% in July when the company announced a $756M loan from the US government to bootstrap Kodak Pharmaceuticals. The deal was then put on hold when the SEC launched an investigation into “recent allegations of wrongdoing” along the lines of insider trading. Following this announcement, Kodak shares fell again. Now shares are surging once more when news broke that hedge fund, D.E. Shaw, bought more than 3.9 million shares, making its stake greater than 5%.
Before July’s big announcement, Kodak was trading at $2.62 a share, it soared as high as $60 a share over the next few days. The value then dropped precipitously after the deal was put on hold before resurging this week. As of September 1st, Kodak shares are trading at $7.50.
Maze Leaks Canon Data Online
In early August, Canon confirmed they had been attacked by Maze ransomware. As leaked internal communications at Canon revealed returned access to company files, it was assumed that Canon paid the ransom. Until mid-August, when Maze released 2.2 GB of data allegedly stolen from Canon. The ransomware group claims this leak is only 5% of what they stole, meaning they allegedly have another 44-45 GB in reserve. The published files contain marketing materials and do not appear to contain more sensitive or personal data.
UPDATE: In November 2020, Canon admitted the August breach compromised information for employees (and their beneficiaries and dependents) from 2005-2020. This breached information includes names, date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license number, and more.
Read more news from around the industry on our News & Resources page.
Our readers respond to last month’s poll question
Last month we discussed key crisis leadership traits, with strong communication heading the list. So we were curious to hear how you’d rate your company leaders’ communication during the pandemic crisis. We had a solid turnout of 18,197 votes this month!
Most of you (52%) rated you company’s communication positively with 30% saying it was good with room for improvement and 22% saying it was great. 36% gave their company a negative rating – 16% said it was bad and didn’t know what what going on, 11% said they hadn’t heard anything and didn’t know if they still had a job and 9% said it was terrible with no plans and unexpected changes. The remaining 12% rated it neutrally, saying they had to ask for explanations but that they were still muddling through.
Rate your company's communication during COVID
- Good, there's a plan but some things could be more clear (30%, 5,391 Votes)
- Great, I know our policies and generally what to expect each week (22%, 3,959 Votes)
- Bad, I’m not really sure what’s going on but I know we’re still in business (16%, 2,928 Votes)
- OK, I have to ask for explanations but we’re muddling through (12%, 2,242 Votes)
- Crickets, every morning I'm honestly not sure if I still have a job (11%, 1,978 Votes)
- Terrible, there’s no plan and unexpected changes come up all the time (9%, 1,699 Votes)
Some comments from y’all:
- “We never panicked. Our company slowed down for about 2 weeks, after which everyone was back at work and none have even looked back. We keep our offices super clean, stay our distance, wear masks at all times in customer locations, we advise the customer that we will thoroughly sanitize every inch of each unit before and after each service. We are mostly doing ‘normal’ business, with all employees. Sales has migrated to zoom meetings and revenue is reasonably normal.”
- “I’ve been furloughed for almost 4 months, haven’t heard from anyone. Called the branch today and was told the the GM was on vacation, out of state for next 2 weeks!?! I have no idea what to do except go to your site and find a new job.”
- “Oh our Ma & Pa dealership communicated plenty during the pandemic. With events changing so rapidly, many companies sat and waited a couple weeks before reacting but not my company. We got a rambling, incoherent email from the owner, vague messaging from HR and near-constant changes in policy. First it was a sliding scale of pay cuts followed days later with our schedules being cut to part-time. We were all finally furloughed when the shutdown happened in our state. After receiving PPP funding, we came back with a 10% reduction in hours. Then we were told to take a full day off each week. When the math didn’t add up in July we were told we ‘owed the time back to the company’ and were ordered to work two full days in August without pay. Each change in policy created anxiety, apprehension and panic.”
- “Communication is the best way to run a company, pandemic or not, and we have that trait nailed down.”
Looking for top Copier Channel professionals? Copier Careers helps industry employers find the qualified staff they need to grow their businesses. Learn more.
Copier Careers Newsletter September 2020 Poll Question
What trend do you predict next for the Copier Channel?
- Increased health solution services (32%, 4,914 Votes)
- Increased remote office support (21%, 3,143 Votes)
- Management turnover (15%, 2,349 Votes)
- Proactive hiring (15%, 2,271 Votes)
- Company/branch closures (9%, 1,352 Votes)
- More mergers & acquisitions (8%, 1,155 Votes)