For many companies, the Coronavirus Pandemic has caused deep alterations in the consumer culture that are required for a business to thrive, such as Dave and Buster's seeing the first drop in guest attendance. For other companies, such as Peloton, the lockdown conditions are ideal to support growth and improvements in customer satisfaction. And for a handful of other companies, it's a bit of a mixed bag. Enter: Western Union ($WU).
Job listings at the money-transfer company disappeared on March 10, 2020, in a clear hiring freeze.
Posted to the Western Union careers site is this message, confirming the freeze:
Western Union continues to monitor the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) developments closely. Our priority is the safety of our employees and the well-being of those impacted globally. Due to the fluidity of the current global climate, at this time, we have decided to temporarily pause most of our hiring efforts. Talent Acquisition will continue to be in contact with those candidates who are in the various stages of our hiring journey. - Global Talent Acquisition
Western Union is a cross border and cross-currency money transfer founded in 1851 with headquarters in Denver, CO. Its services are worldwide, with digital transfer to over 75 countries, over 4 billion accounts in over 100 countries, and a retail agent network in over 200 countries. Until 2006 it provided an industrialized monopoly on the American telegraph services.
For years Western Union's fastest-growing business section has been its digital money transfer services. On March 26, 2020, Western Union announced a new channel, known as Digital Location. In regions that physical offices have been ordered closed, such as Austria, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, and Oman, the new pilot program allows for hands-on customer connections to phone or video call in multiple languages to help assist through the money transfer process.
However, on March 27, Western Union withdrew its full-year 2020 financial outlook, citing uncertainty in the scope and duration of the Coronavirus conditions. While digital transfer services continued to experience growth throughout March, a decline in physical location traffic and utilization has resulted in several Western Union closures. It plans to update its views in 2020 with first-quarter results in May.
Whether this sudden shift will see another shift to expand its pilot Digital Location services channel remains to be seen. We will keep our eyes open to see how the post-Coronavirus money transfer trends flow.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.