It’s easy for people thinking about their future career to feel disheartened given the events of the last several months. Whether you already have a secure job and are thinking about a change, or you’re ready to pick a career path for the first time, the economic impacts of the most severe pandemic in a century have likely led you to doubt and reconsider your choices.
If this is the case, then you have more to feel optimistic about than you might think. Because while the global economy has undoubtedly taken a hit, there are still many career opportunities for skilled and talented professionals.
In this post, we’re going to look at five key trends that are expected to shape the job market in the years ahead.
How Bad Is the Post-COVID-19 Economic Outlook?
Because data and research measuring the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are continually shifting and incomplete, it can be challenging to ascertain the current condition of the job market and broader economy.
There is no doubt that the effects of COVID-19 have been overwhelmingly negative. Yet despite the proliferation of bleak newspaper headlines and general pessimism, it’s not all doom and gloom. While GDP growth has slowed during 2020, it is expected to pick up again in 2021. And some job sectors, like healthcare, information technology (IT), logistics and others, have seen growth.
1. Sustained Remote Working Practices
During the early stages of the pandemic, government-mandated lockdowns forced companies to instruct their employees to work from home. This prompted the wide-scale adoption of remote working practices and innovative technology infrastructures.
Many benefits associated with remote working quickly became apparent, from increased employee efficiency to the ability on the part of companies to hire people outside of their usual catchment areas. Because of this, businesses of all shapes and sizes are expected to continue to allow employees to work from home, either partially or fully.
For graduates and job-hunters, this trend has one crucial implication. Employers will be open to hiring individuals that are geographically distant from their physical offices, making it feasible for candidates to apply to a much wider range of companies (in different locales, countries and jurisdictions) than was previously possible. However, this does also have the counter effect of increasing competition for roles that will now be open to a much larger group of candidates.
2. Rise in Demand for IT and Digital Technology Professionals
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital across a variety of areas. From remote working to e-commerce to factory automation and beyond, businesses have been forced to develop advanced, efficient technology infrastructures in a short space of time.
This has led to a corresponding increase in demand for technology professionals and corporate leaders that are familiar with the technical dimension of core business software and hardware solutions.
Skills that might previously have been sidelined, specifically relating to information technology, cybersecurity, digital marketing and automated systems management, are now center stage. And the demand for individuals with training in these fields is expected to be high.
3. Ongoing Transition to E-Commerce and High Street Closures
While retail revenue has slumped overall due to a significant decrease in high street shopping, e-commerce sales have grown substantially. This shift was already occurring;the pandemic has simply acted as a catalyst. Consequently, an increasing number of retailers are transferring their focus to digital channels.
Many researchers are predicting heightened demand for e-commerce and digital skills from retail businesses. Companies are directing resources to online marketing strategies, e-commerce storefronts and underlying logistical and customer support infrastructures. They are also eager to find competitive advantages and drive innovations that will enrich the online customer journey.
4. Downsizing of Badly Affected Industries Like Air Travel, Hospitality and Automotive
Several sectors, particularly air travel, hospitality and automotive manufacturing, have been significantly hurt by the pandemic, much more so than other industries.
While many companies have taken contingency measures to limit revenue losses, such as offering alternative products, taking advantage of aid packages and streamlining business operations, a great deal of damage has already been done. And it will be virtually impossible for these companies to return to normal when the pandemic passes.
Because of this, we will likely see reduced activity in these sectors with alternative business models that focus on eliminating inefficiencies and that cater to new consumer preferences. What’s more, the primary emphasis among many companies will shift from growth to resilience, creating a need for leaders with skills in this area.
5. Hybrid Digital and In-Person Events
With in-person events still banned in many countries, the events industry is continuing to struggle. Many companies, however, have taken creative and unusual approaches to make up for lost revenue.
One example is Reuters, which has pivoted the events arm of its business, Reuters Events, to a digital model. After building an extensive digital infrastructure, the well-known company was able to offer tickets for large online events, with opportunities for participants to join discussions, collaborate and take part in activities.
This model has been so successful that Reuters is planning to adopt a hybrid model going forward, combining both in-person and digital elements. It is likely that the industry as a whole will move in this direction, creating a definite need for skilled individuals that can bridge the gap between live and digital events.
Launch Your Career With a Degree From EU Business School
The world is changing. Over the course of the last several months, entire industries have been disrupted, and trends that were expected to evolve over multiple years have occurred in mere months. Now more than ever, the corporate sector needs skilled, innovative business leaders to help businesses transition to an uncertain and likely tumultuous future.
If you are excited by the idea of a career in business, take a look at EU Business School’s extensive collection of courses, which includes Bachelor, Master, and MBA degrees, along with several bridging and foundation qualifications.