Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are dealing with different types of anxiety. About our families, our finances—and especially about the future of our work. Industries are experiencing extremes, whether it's massive demand for goods or an abrupt, long pause in service.
A new trend is emerging - some roles and sectors are evolving as part of our collective response to the pandemic, and may be permanently shaping the workforce of the future.
Early data gleaned from job-specific hiring trends across North America provide broader clues about where employment opportunities may be headed.
Good health is great wealth
There’s already evidence for massive new hiring and expansions throughout the health sector. As the crisis continues, the need for expanded public health capacity will remain key. The urgent current need for frontline workers, however, may evolve into demand for qualified individuals capable of fulfilling specialized, essential roles as our knowledge about and capability to fight the virus evolves, too. And with many who are currently in specialized medical fields already being asked to temporarily transfer and help care for COVID-19 patients, public health is a sector that will continue to adapt and evolve for some time.
Strong logistics are critical
CareerBuilder data shows the top new job opening being posted amid the coronavirus pandemic is for order fillers in wholesale in retail sales. Also included in the top five are heavy- and tractor-trailer truck drivers, as well as laborers, and freight, stock and material movers.
Even when isolated, our supply lines are critical and require more manpower with an increase in people ordering online or participating in curbside pickups. Companies supporting large numbers of these essential frontline workers will need to create new roles for experts who can equip and train workers to protect themselves from risk and to follow best practices. And that doesn’t include the additional scheduling, maintenance, or technology support roles that will need to be created to support these increasingly large teams.
Digital transformation is accelerating even more
For many of us, the vast and sudden transition to remote work underlines the immediacy of a digital transformation we’ve been talking about for a long time. But we’re also seeing that transformation impact other key areas of our lives: what happens in school, and what happens after it.
Teachers and faculty around the world have had to quickly and suddenly shift education to online. Longer term, this will necessitate the rapid hiring of two roles that may be new—but no less critical—for many organizations: trainers who can upskill educators on how to use online learning platforms to their full potential and instructional designers who can help them (or teach them) to create engaging, dynamic learning experiences for students of all ages.
At the same time, according to Yahoo! Finance, people have increasingly turned to video games as a source of entertainment. Steam — Valve’s popular gaming platform — saw a record 20 million simultaneous users on March 15 as social distancing measures were beginning in earnest across North America. And with the absence of real-world sports to watch, this is where we see new roles begin to emerge: The e-sports industry, which was already booming before the pandemic, should see continued growth as people watch professional gamers battle each other. The demand for new roles across the industry should follow, including everything from new creative marketing roles to team support staff.
Technology can power the pivots
Rapid adaptation in current roles (and entire organizations) is already happening in unique and creative ways. The common denominator? Technology is enabling this shift as companies refocus their people and resources.
In one example cited by TechCrunch, a 2017-founded greeting card startup called Thoughtful Human — a company that’s familiar with confronting challenging topics in empathetic ways — has partnered with BetterHelp Therapy to offer one free month of therapy by phone or text to individuals. In another case, Dyson — a well-known brand we already associate with air filtration — has drawn on their specific expertise and worked directly with the UK government to start building a new ventilator, which has been ordered for the NHS in large quantities.
In the future, our ability to adapt to new challenges will become increasingly critical as our circumstances change. Whether it’s through the creation of new roles or the shifting of existing ones to meet new demands, it’s becoming clear that there have never been more opportunities for job seekers and organizations willing to explore and create roles with flexibility — or a greater need for it.