Jobs That Could Disappear In The Post-COVID World
"Gone are those days when there was a dependency on one factory or company to distribute things to the whole world. In today’s life, people are now building into that limitation and cashing on the contingency plan. So things are moving locally. A lot of global dependencies are being distributed to local markets."
- Mahesh Alanthat, head of Modern Trade Business, Samsung Mobile
For a change, that's a positive perspective from an industry leader who is witnessing the transformation of the workforce and job markets firsthand since the pandemic began.
Here are the two kinds of stats that expose the boon and bane of COVID-19 on the job market globally:
- McKinsey estimates that 4.3 million jobs will disappear in the next decade in customer service and food service.
- Amazon went on a hiring spree where they added 427,300 employees in 10 months taking its global workforce total to 1.2 million+.
Two sides of the same coin
Many employees were laid off, many had to change, compromise or work at lower pay. This change was the result of a gamut of factors including the fact that some of these positions didn't hold enough importance or could simply be automated in this new world COVID-19 catalyzed.
At the same time, many new job positions, skills, industries are experiencing unimaginable growth. Who would have thought the manufacturing of sanitizers would see a sudden boom?
Truth be told, most of the population could not even have fathomed not being present in the office and still getting the work done. Others did not realize that their jobs could be snatched away by Artificial Intelligence (AI) so soon.
A perspective shift
"People always talk about airlines and the hotel industry, but even cosmetics, FMCG and clothing brands are hit extensively," remarks Sairose Mosani, the founder of Whizz HR, a leading recruitment agency.
Talking about job positions, she opines that regular infrastructural jobs, administration roles, or housekeeping jobs in the IT sector may not shape well ahead. Additionally, companies are now, more than ever, directly connecting online with the end-user to sell their products and services. This in turn reduced the number of middlemen roles that would otherwise be necessary.
Sairose also notes that the pandemic has taken a toll on working mothers. She strategically pointed out how companies are hesitant to hire mothers. Since February 2020, 5.4 million women have lost their jobs. This accounts for approximately 1 million more job losses compared to men. According to the National Women's Law Center, female participation in the workforce has already hit its lowest level since 1988 — by dropping to 57%.
Apparently, employers are afraid these mothers may not be able to juggle the workload with the responsibility of their children especially in remote work mode where there is a limited separation between work and household responsibilities.
An overall overhaul of organizations
In a virtual session conducted by Mentza, Mahesh Alanthat, head of modern trade business at Samsung Mobile, shared his insights about how the global job market, distribution chains, and customer experiences have been reshaped.
Mahesh explains how organizations today are looking at the overall capacity of the workforce and questioning whether they really require those many employees. What are those jobs that are being duplicated because of the physical presence of people across geographies and are there any possibilities of removing the duplicity in roles? These are some of the key questions being asked.
For example, there are staff in hospitals, government offices, colleges, and other administrative areas that need to operate their tasks only through a computer without having to interact with people on a one-to-one basis. Companies are eventually cutting off many such positions either due to a shortage of funds or replacing them with some technology or an application.
As a result of COVID-19 and increased digitization, automation and AI were also encouraged in workplaces where the physical proximity is high. Warehouses, grocery stores, call centres, manufacturing plants are just a few examples where they were pushed harder to relook at the workers required in a workplace.
If we have to take a look at position-wise, here are some of them:
Clerical work like typing reports, letters, filling forms
Booking managers, admins
Retail store salesman jobs
Offline customer sales
Office support roles
Professionals and daily wage workers functioning in theatre, cinema industry
Middle-level admin work in private colleges
Printing press operators
Do you observe a common denominator in these jobs?
None of the positions require much creativity or innovation. While many were affected by virtue of their work not being ‘pandemic-proof,’ other job cuts stand testament to the fact that jobs that require creativity and innovation are still harder to let go of.
What else is here to stay? Let's take a look!
What’s your value?
Sairose, who runs a recruitment agency, closely monitors hiring trends and helps organizations hire the best talent across the advertising industry. Her experience of late is that when a company is looking to hire, they assess the value the candidate is going to bring to the table.
The shift from degree to value addition is definitely a fresh approach to discover talent. It ensures job seekers focus on building skill sets that help businesses thrive and not just survive. People from across the globe are also more well-connected now. The volume of jobs may be limited, but the positions are not confined to be filled from one city anymore.
Sairose succinctly puts it across as:
"If I am sitting in India, and if I have somebody who is excellent in some of the Southern European countries, and who is coming at a very good price; the time difference is five hours possibly, why wouldn't I explore?"
Top advice to sail through this job market
Mahesh thinks upskilling will be crucial in an increasingly competitive workforce. You might have heard this advice quite a few times so far but, it's just never enough to emphasize how important it is to enhance yourself to stand out in today's job market. You could pick 1 or 2 skills that complement your existing strengths.
Look beyond an MBA
If you're a recent graduate reading this, Sairose has a word of advice for you. She believes that before jumping on to another educational qualification, every individual should have some or the other kind of professional experience to figure out what they even want to do in their life.
She reiterates, “Students go for an MBA straight out of their undergraduate and when they hit the job market for the first time after MBA, they realize that the sky is not only blue, it has white color too.”
Don't rush for an MBA just because you are losing your time or age. Take up a job, pick a skill, work with experts; figure out what you are interested in pursuing, and then maybe go for an MBA. But first, PUT IN THE WORK.
Our two cents
Despite such testing times, losing hope was never an option. Start leveraging platforms like LinkedIn. As per the stats presented in a blog by Kinsta, there are more than 55 million companies listed on LinkedIn and 87% of recruiters regularly use the site for hiring.
With such a vast number of recruiters present there, it’s no surprise that 3 people are hired through LinkedIn every minute. You could be one of those anytime soon, you never know. The bottom line is — do your research, reach out to the right people (and more people), make efforts in the right direction.
The rapidly changing job scenario could get overwhelming to digest, especially for job seekers. The only ray of hope that remains is the fact that there is one industry booming for every industry collapsing. We must pull our socks up to figure how we can pivot, upgrade, and find a space where we could make a difference in our own way. For this is a world that doesn't ask us to settle but rather encourage us to keep moving forward.
Enjoyed these insights? Share the article with your friends and watch this space for more such discussions on how to navigate the #NewNormal.