There is much talk currently about the future of work following the COVID-19 pandemic with a predicted global recession and period of economic turmoil. Working remotely, the digital economy, gig workers’ rights and virtual offices are inevitably going to feature more in everyone’s life, but which are the sectors that will want to invest in human capital this year, next year and beyond? Where will the opportunities be? What skills will they require, and how can you prepare for the new areas of demand?
It has been painful to watch the travel, tourism, hospitality and retailing sectors collapsing during the first weeks of the pandemic, but as the first casualties they may also be the first to recover in a post pandemic world, where people are desperate for a return to a more normal life. However, we may all be more cautious and conservative about our travel and entertainment choices until confidence and bank balances recover, and that might take some time.
So, who will be the winners? Here are a few suggestions to start you thinking.
In the Health Sector
Never before have we relied so much on those in the front line of this pandemic battle, and if lessons are to be learned, we can reasonably expect investment and focus on jobs in this sector in the future.
- Public sector roles, not just nurses and clinicians, but pharmacists, carers, health trust managers and professional service roles including procurement, finance, demand management, recruitment and training within the NHS.
- Health policy, research and management roles in government at regional, national and international levels.
- Digital health analysts including data scientists and infection tracing specialists.
- Emergency services roles from front line paramedics to the police, with a need for leaders, strategists, crisis managers and planners to ensure these services can respond in any future situation.
- Scientists and Researchers, including virologists and microbiologists – in research and academic institutions, private laboratories, and pharmaceutical companies
In the Supply and Demand Sector
We have come to realise just how critical the speedy, effective, supply of goods and materials is. Supply chains are often long and complex, with many critical hubs and potential choke points, made even more difficult by cross border regulatory red tape and restrictions, so we need some bright minds to simplify and better organise our supply of essential products, from food to medical equipment.
- Supply chain roles include planners, analysts and technology specialists who can connect hitherto unconnected parts of the supply chain to provide a responsive, slick operation that can be dialled up or down depending on demand.
- Logistics roles cover fulfilment, warehousing, transport and delivery management. We are very reliant on the ability of organisations to transport goods from source to customer, and how they must need the very best distribution, productivity and data managers and analysts to be successful. Amazon recently announced they would be recruiting an additional 100,000 staff to deal with the upsurge in demand, signalling a huge need for these skills.
- Further resources:
In Politics and Government
- Project and programme management roles are key to the delivery of governments’ commitments e.g. how to organise 700,000 volunteers into a well-coordinated, productive task force, or, how to produce sufficient medical equipment to distribute within a very short space of time.
- Disaster and crisis response roles including the mobilisation and implementation of specialist teams in a world where speed is critical, and indecision is the precursor to catastrophe.
- Risk assessment and management roles which cover political, financial and societal as well as environmental risks.
- Government advisors to solve the economic and health challenges with labour market policies to meet the demand for new products and service that will require new jobs, new skills and new approaches to education.
- Further resources:
In the Manufacturing Sector
- To create more national resilience there may well be a renewed focus on local production capability for everything now viewed as essential, from Food and Drink to Pharmaceuticals. Companies in the FMCG sector (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) will doubtless be keen to secure new talent to support their production capability, their sales and marketing expertise and their back-office functions such as finance, human resources, procurement etc.
- Energy and especially renewable or green business roles may emerge to capitalise on evidence of how the environment has benefitted from a reduction in pollutants caused by “pre-pandemic living”. Meanwhile “social distancing” and “self-isolation”, as new words in our vocabulary, have forced everyone to think about the need to be less dependent on others. This has led to a renewed interest in a more self-sustaining approach to the way we live our lives. Run this forward and demand for products that enable us to generate our own energy, produce our own food, manage our health, create our own leisure activities and so on in a domestic setting will likely boom.
- Further resources:
In the Education Sector
There has been a rapid transformation in the way learning and assessment takes place with schools, universities and education establishments, responding with break neck speed to the demand for distance learning, for collaborative educational tools, and for qualification verification following months or years of study. This appears to be working well and may provide the impetus for a different approach to education, which will in turn require a new set of skills for teachers and new roles for those providing the learning infrastructure.
Employment sector guide: Education and Teaching
In the Financial Services Sector
- Economists will be in great demand to provide direction to government, to banks, to research institutes and to business, as nations seek to resurrect their economies, but will organisations be able to afford the think tank or consultancy fees that characterised the pre-pandemic economy?
- In banking and finance there will be many problems to solve but there is also likely to be a more conservative approach to large graduate intake programmes.
In the Technology Sector
Without technology, organisations and individuals would have struggled to survive the social separation that COVID-19 necessitated. In the future the collaboration tools, communication, entertainment, information, data and the multitude of other services provided by technology are going to become even more important to the way society and the economy develops. Careers in technology will likely boom in response.
Employment sector guide: Data, Information and Technology
So which additional skills will be most in demand for these roles?
- Project and programme management – the ability to make things happen and deliver results
- Strategic leadership – the ability to see the big picture, make connections, understand complexity and make brave decisions
- Innovation and entrepreneurial mindset – to provide solutions that are needed to solve some of the world’s most intransigent problems
- Communication skills – the ability to find the right balance when providing information that is true and relevant
- Languages – to enable connection and collaboration on the world stage
Carry out a skills audit to highlight your unique and transferable skills and start thinking about how you can develop these skills using online learning such as:
Don’t forget that LSE Careers are here to support and work with you virtually. Find out more about how we’ve adapted our service here.