Jobs needed in the wake of the COVID-19 virus

What jobs are expected to be in high demand in the wake of COVID-19 virus?

Our team has identified the following two sectors:

  • Healthcare workers (nursing, lab technicians, care takers)
  • Education (remote teachers, tutors)

What other sectors/jobs will be in high demand? What are the challenges with rapidly up-skilling people into these roles?

I suspect teleworking will become more common now that employers see they don’t need to have their workers in the office five days per week. So companies supporting that, such as Slack and Zoom, should do well.

I’m less sure about delivery, which is seeing an increase in jobs right now. Will people go back to dining out and shopping as usual after this crisis?

Let me ask the futurists in our group for their opinion: @Jerome, @ymedan, @Ted, @temmmmm, @marz62, which jobs do you think will be in high demand after the corona crisis?

I’m not sure what time period “in the wake of” refers to, as the virus is given a decent probability (by several epidemiologists) of resurfacing in the late Summer/Fall of 2020 – and a vaccine will not be available until at least Winter 2020, if not 2021. We’ve got 18 months of this…according to some public health experts. So, my suggestions here are to apply to the near to medium term future including any ‘interim’ period between* outbreaks. It’s the new normal folks.

*NOTE: Also: Dennis Carroll of the Global Virome Project predicts a viral pandemic/outbreak will occur every 2-3 years.

Truckers (high wage) will be in high demand, of course, along with grocery workers (low to medium wage). Sanitation workers – specifically bio-hazard workers and decontamination companies – as well as emergency shelter construction companies (temporary field hospitals and ‘medical stations’, such as we have here in WA state) will see growth going forward (as, hopefully, states learn many valuable lessons about preparedness [see note, above])

Teachers and teaching aides (assisting with ‘teleschooling’ classes/lessons) and ‘home-schooling consultants’ (not to forget baby sitters and ‘parental assistants’ (to give parents a break from having kids at home all day).

Remote instruction (e.g., fitness trainers) of many kinds will be in demand as will be audio/visual technicians to produce (e.g., pro-editing) the content prior to publishing or streaming.

The surging popularity of home (cable TV) streaming content (and cable-exclusive entertainment) – already seeing strong growth – will drive strong demand for film/television producers/production companies (and their production /technical crews).

I see 3D printing outfits specializing in basic bio-medical (prophylactic) equipment (esp. those with latent capacity and/or moderate scalability) – already being called upon to produced respirator masks – will be positioned for growth and/or consolidation into larger manufacturing centers.

In the event of a prolonged pandemic, or a second one, Home Health Aides (these are, non-nurse, trained/certified healthcare workers that do basic home healthcare assistance and assist with prescribed treatments like physical therapy) will be in great demand by recovery stage patients (and their families) convalescing at home (plus, many families may opt for home healthcare given the high risk/fatality rate of elderly people at assisted living and retirement communities during an outbreak).

I think people will return to restaurant eating, but slowly and not likely in the same numbers. Food / meal trucks – already a growing trend here in Seattle – will continue growing in number – but with the proviso that these be certified and inspected (to allay peoples concerns about pathogen spread).

Lastly (for now), laws and regulations established in the wake of this pandemic (and addressing future risks of new contagions) will require a COMPLIANCE industry to inspect trucks, food prep facilities (and equipment) and issue certifications (or citations for fines) and collection of fines…

As for working entirely from home: this ‘growing trend’ (more like an ‘explosion’ of late) is LONG over-due (in terms of becoming ubiquitous or pervasive in occupations formerly still operating ‘in situ’); it was all predicted by Alvin Toffler (The Third Wave) in 1981 and he referred to it as the “electronic cottage” effect (or phenomenon).

@marz62 Thank you so much for all of this! It’s really helpful to hear these perspectives! Healthcare and education were jobs we had identified, will definitely look into the others.

Concerning home health aides*: I neglected to note the need being partly driven by self-quarantining people (people who have come in contact with an infected person, but which may be ‘all clear’, or in ‘pre-symptomatic’ or asymptomatic stages) especially the 50 years and older segment. Thus also, a ‘home helping’ industry should emerge in some form that includes cooks, dieticians, life coaches, etc.

  • this group quite apart from health care workers (in medical facilities) in general. In this regard, one might expect auxiliary medical professions (with authority and training to act in a medical capacity – similar to physicians’ assistants now, or possibly army medics – in early stages of disasters/pandemics or remote locations).

Thanks, @marz62! It looks like some of the jobs we were expecting to disappear as a result of automation, such truck drivers and possibly food delivery, might be in higher demand in the short term. Given longer-term trends, though, I’m not sure it would be wise for us to focus on those professions in this prize. When it comes to gig work, that could also contradict our ambition to provide low-skill and low-wage workers with more fulfilling work.

@Ann, @Jackeez, since @marz62 mentioned such industries as media and food services, I’d like to ask your opinion on jobs on those sectors as well.

@lheisser, what’s your take on the job situation in marketing, PR, etc.?

@dughogan, you may also have insight on the likely job situation in the media and entertainment industries in the next few years?

@Klaus, I’d also like to ask your opinion.

I agree with a lot that is written here by @BryanNamba @marz62 and @NickOttens

What I think is important to consider is the short-run, versus medium-run, versus long-run aspect. I think that in the short run many jobs that are susceptible to automation (from a long-run perspective) will be in higher demand due to the epidemic. This should not be mistakenly seen as an indicator that they will do well in the long run. Due to the very increase in demand today, the pressure to automate will rise further in the medium to long run.

In addition, in the medium run when the epidemic is still severe, there will be another new aspect to consider in the decision to automate certain jobs namely that doing so might help breaking transmission chains for the virus. For example, if delivery can take place by drones/robots, this reduces human contacts. Diagnosing apps will also get a boost due to the current situation.

Overall, professions requiring direct human contact (apart from healthcare) are likely to suffer. This includes. In this regard everybody who is able to adapt (say teachers who deliver online courses and fitness trainers who deliver personal online classes) will have an advantage.

Yes…short - medium term job growth verses the longer term trending towards partial or full automation. Within this sector (automation/AI/robotics) we are already seeing presentations about, and prototypes of, ‘robotic companions’ (see: Stuart Russell, Toby Wash, and colleagues); a trend appealing to socially isolated persons, with more widespread need during a pandemic that mandates ‘social distancing’)…so, efforts to build/design an affordable and multi-functional (e.g., able to take/monitor human temperature measurements and report changes) robot companion will spur on the consumer robotics industry (some parts of which, like assembly, can in fact be done by robots) which will require suppliers (materials), engineers (systems), designers (to create human-friendly models, like ‘Pepper’, programmers…and a host of supporting occupations.

This is a great point! We should be careful not to over-correct and focus on jobs that are in higher demand right now, but which are still likely to disappear in the medium term.

@jkesler, @nanditabthakur11, @Abbie, @YigalKerszenbaum, can I ask your opinion on this question as well? Are there any jobs we’ve overlooked?

In addition to the ones discussed above, we’ve identified:

  • Solar panel installers
  • People who prepare, install, clean, and sterilize medical equipment
  • Computer user support specialists

as occupations that may be future- and recession-proof.

They all have higher-than-average incomes and were already expected to grow above average pre-pandemic.

They also don’t require certification, which means teams competing in our prize competition could devise an up-skilling program for them.

What do you think?

Hi nick…I think the job of health workers, medical stores, technologist ( in the field of sewage plant, medical equipments, IT ), online teaching job, restaurant and scientist will be in high demand.

Hi @marz62, @Klaus, @NickOttens and @nanditabthakur11. Thank you all for sharing thoughts and raising great questions. Let’s break out short, medium, and long term. Let’s focus on health care jobs that are needed in the next 12 months for just a bit. We can then zoom out.

I’ve seen some articles around the need for health technicians. So much so that places are asking retired technicians to return to the frontlines to help the cause. This is just one example of a job that may be in high demand in the coming months. What training models exist for these workers and why are current training and placement practices not meeting the demand for workers? Have you seen any state-of-the-art programs doing this quickly and effectively?

Thanks for posing such an important question in this context @BryanNamba!

I think this is indeed a huge problem at the moment because spare capacities in the health sector were always seen as something that is inefficient by consultants and policymakers. In times of crises, of course, this leads to many problems that are difficult to tackle in the short run. What I have heard and read about are mainly the following strategies

  • As you also mention, to bring back retired doctors, nurses, medical technicians, etc.

  • To offer some in these professions who are close to graduation a fast track to graduating (just read that NYU offers early graduation to medical students to become doctors and I have also read that senior medical students are asked to work in hospitals now in some countries)

  • In Austria we still have compulsory military service and the only way for young men to get around serving in the army is to do an alternative service, mainly as assistants in health-care related services for which they get a basic training (admittedly this is usually not much more than a few days of instructions). At the moment, the cohorts who did this service in the last five years are required to get back and assist in, e.g., care facilities for older adults or as paramedics in ambulances.

  • In general, I could imagine that countries will introduce fast track education/instruction for becoming paramedics and probably also for some health technicians.

However, also in this context, automation seems to play a crucial role. As far as I got to know (but I am by no means an expert), testing for COVID-19 used to be very labor intensive and took quite long. This is now greatly alleviated by having tests that work largely automated. This should take some pressure off the health technicians in these areas I would guess.

I apologize for not responding earlier. Crazy times here on my side of the pond.

Caregivers for the elderly will be in high demand at various levels, from physical to emotional support. In fact, when the crisis is over, the main challenge will be to restore trust in the government and to improve resiliency of the general population.

I want to make a correction to my original post here:

Media (TV and Film) production crews will, unfortunately, NOT be finding more work in a pandemic (‘stay-at-home’) environment. According to a good friend who works in the industry, Hollywood – and indeed most indy production companies – have completely shut down operations due to the pandemic and social distancing proscriptions.

My thinking was (a bit naively) derived from

1] the reported (and personally experienced) increase in ‘binge-watching’ (Prime, Netflix, Hulu, etc.), and,

2] my personal experience – “back in the day” – when small independent crews of less than a dozen folks (with members often performing multiple roles) – were a common thing and who generated most of the first ‘indy’ / ‘art-house’ films back in the 80s and early 90s (before they had ‘proved’ their box office credibility and started attracting million dollar investors, budgets, and expanded crews).

That said, there is an emerging trend on cable TV: the ‘repackaging’ of previously aired content into ‘new’ shows (e.g. “greatest UFC fights of all time”, etc.). This trend includes ‘documentaries’ composed primarily from archival footage (old broadcast news footage, film clips, even solo interviews). This repackaged content (created ‘in-house’) requires film/video/digital editors (and some support staff, like audio engineers/mixers, CGI artists, etc. who can work remotely with shared media files).

So, these media production) folks will certainly have continued (or increased) work during this current, and likely future, epi/pandemics.

Final Note: Do we speculate as to the work trends POST pandemic? When considering what sectors will experience a ‘boom’ (post pandemic), I think TV/Film production companies and studios (especially those that make their products available through subscriptions streaming services) will see a spectacular boom/demand for NEW content…given the fact that their prior-produced content will have been viewed (perhaps multiple times) by stay-at-home populations (some who normally do not view streaming service content) ‘binging’ on available content.

@marz62 - What an awesome list you’ve put together there! So helpful. And who could blame you for thinking that streaming entertainment production would explode during this time? We’re all eating popcorn with you and the Tiger King :smiley: .

I have seen some shows (esp the solo-tainer shows such as John Oliver, Jimmy Fallon and Colbert) adapt to the change by doing paired down productions from home.

Do you see this as a possible trend? Maybe improved at-home production technologies and remote-working production techs/crews?

As for the impact on marketing/PR, we’re experiencing a lot of tumult, as most industries are. Brands will need to want to invest in marketing their products. I am seeing clients mostly scale back but not stop their investments. Provided that that businesses have some runway to keep investing. Retail sector is being hardest hit, technology much less so.