How Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Impact the Job Market? A Conversation With Ahsan Shahid
According to data from the World Economic Forum, fifty percent of all employees will need reskilling by 2025. The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated drastic shifts in the labor market, and job-seekers of all kinds, from recent graduates to established employees contemplating a career change, need to be aware of the demands and expectations they will face.
We invited Ahsan Shahid to discuss these important topics. Ahsan’s background is in human resources (HR) and informatics (the study of computational and data-storage systems). He currently works in Munich at HR consultancy firm HRForecast, which specializes in data analytics and predictive technology.
Building a Data-Backed Picture of the Global Job Marketplace
Ahsan began by giving an overview of how the company he works for, HRForecast, uses data to understand changes and trends in the job market.
HRForecast uses two types of data: macroeconomic and internal. Macroeconomic data, which is gathered from the web using crawling technology, encompasses official statistics, job posts, patents, competitor benchmarking (tracking other companies’ activity) and more. Internal data comprises HRForecast’s clients’ workplace analytics and skills distributions.
With access to such large quantities of data, and in conjunction with support from algorithmic sorting and enhancement tools, Ahsan can develop a complete picture of the trends influencing the recruitment space and labor market.
Banks and the Financial Sector
The first industry that Ahsan talked about was the banking and financial sector. Three related areas have been impacted by accelerated digitalization since the beginning of the pandemic: financial technology (or “fintech”), customer behavior and cybersecurity.
Regarding technology, fintech startups, in conjunction with blockchain and crypto-assets, are disrupting the global banking ecosystem. And companies are looking for individuals with skill-sets and experience in these areas.
Big data professionals have also seen increased demand from recruiters. Many financial organizations are implementing data-based, predictive strategies that will allow them to respond more effectively to future pandemics and crises.
In conjunction with big data’s growing relevance, robotic and AI automation software is becoming more widespread. Associated technologies, like conversational interfaces, augmented reality devices and advanced cloud services, require highly trained developers.
User experience (UX) skills have also seen greater demand. Organizations are eager that advanced technologies fit within engaging and outcome-focused customer journeys. Financial institutions are focused on driving multichannel connectivity, personalization, integration between related banking services and high levels of transparency.
Finally, Ahsan turned his attention to cybersecurity. With the emergence of innovative technologies, both governments and private organizations have sought to create secure regulatory frameworks. Cybersecurity initiatives encompass, among other things, fraud detection, data protection, advanced encryption and “RegTech” or regulatory technology.
Next, Ahsan turned his attention to the logistics industry. He outlined five trends that are shaping the space, along with the skills gaps that are opening as a result.
Here is an overview of each one:
- Digital transport marketplaces – Digital transport marketplaces are third-party platforms for shippers and carriers that allow organizations to leverage digitally-connected and varied modes of transport. In this way, they can find the fastest, most cost-effective delivery options.
- Digitally-supported fulfillment and forwarding services – Digitally-supported services include automated fulfillment processes (self-driving cars, drones, robots, etc.), real-time customer updates and customization options relating to the time and mode of delivery.
- Optimization and visibility data services – Optimization services enable carriers to save resources by providing complete control over shipping processes. These software tools include features for route optimization, last-mile management, real-time risk forecasting and so on.
- Digitally-supported or “smart” warehouses – “Smart” warehouses leverage data and IoT (internet of things) devices to track stock levels, distribute goods across various storage locations and streamline fulfillment processes to drive greater overall efficiency.
- Saas (software-as-a-service) for logistics management – Software-as-a-service platforms provide logistics operators with greater control over day-to-day operations like fleet management, route planning and stock distribution.
Logistics companies require business professionals with training in digital technology and data management to manage and optimize these systems. Due to broader market changes (many attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic), logistics represents a rapidly changing sector, and job openings have increased as a result.
Business-to-Business Marketing and Sale
After covering the banking and logistics sectors, Ahsan shared some data about the business-to-business (B2B) marketing and sales industry.
As is to be expected, digital innovations are fuelling many of the trends in this space. Specifically, digital-driven advertising trends like influencer marketing, IoT marketing, use of virtual reality and voice interfaces, B2B ecommerce sales and reliance on mobile devices among consumers are prompting companies to hire marketing experts with a high level of digital understanding.
In a similar vein, data analytics is playing an ever more critical role in marketing. Predictive analytics, machine learning and big data analytics are just some of the burgeoning sub-disciplines in this space.
Ahsan was quick to point out, however, that digital technology doesn’t constitute the whole picture. Many organizations are placing greater focus on user experience and seeking to create community-driven, customer-centric and consistent buyer journeys. Increasingly, the customer journey intersects with digital innovations, and organizations realize the importance of hiring UX experts who are familiar with new technologies.
Human Resources (HR)
Finally, Ahsan turned his attention to his favorite industry (and the one he works in): human resources (HR).
Human resources departments, which are responsible for workforce management, have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They have had to account for various changes, including remote work, new safety regulations and various employee-focused government initiatives and aid packages.
As a result, the human resources industry as a whole is moving towards a greater reliance on predictive data as a means of ensuring there is time to adapt to future crises. Several HR skills, including corporate responsibility, health and safety, remote team and freelancer management and distance learning, are in higher demand because of trends accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Are You Thinking About Pursuing a Career in Business?
If you’re worried about an uncertain future, you’re not alone. Over the last year, both the private and public sectors have changed in significant and unexpected ways. And nobody can predict how these changes will continue to shape the way everybody works and lives.
If you are excited by the prospect of a business career, don’t be put off. Now more than ever, the world needs passionate business leaders who can steer organizations through the inevitable challenges that lie ahead. A degree from EU Business School will provide you with all the skills and experience you need to thrive in your chosen field.
We offer a range of programs, including bachelor’s, master’s and MBA degrees, on our campuses in the European business hubs of Barcelona, Geneva, Montreux and Munich, as well as online.