Coronavirus & the job market: What should employees do now?
The coronavirus pandemic has affected the world as we know it, and numerous industries and businesses are suffering (or, in some cases, gaining) from its powerful impact. Due to strict measures taken by governments across the globe, most companies are asking their employees to work from home. However, what about those who cannot do their jobs at home?
The job market
Looking at the job market composition during the COVID-19 pandemic, we can identify three main groups of people:
1. Those who are looking for a job right now
This refers to people who were either already job seekers before the pandemic, or who have been laid off due to the pandemic.
2. Those who will need a job in the near future
This refers to people who will lose a job because of the pandemic and potential economic recession in the near future.
3. Those looking for a career change
This refers to people who are currently staying at a job but have been thinking about a career change, before or after the arrival of the pandemic.
If you are employed, your industry is not heavily affected by the crisis and you’re happy at work, then relax. Wash your hands and stay in your home office. However, if you are in one of the above categories, read on.
Depending on which of these categories you fall under, your job search or career development strategy may vary. Let’s discuss each of the groups in more detail.
Current job seekers
If you are a job seeker at the moment, a lot will depend on your industry. Obviously, there are sectors that are more heavily affected than others. Mainly, these are industries that depend on people going out or that require people to be present at a location; activities that cannot be replaced by virtual sessions. These include:
- Tourism (travel, hotels, airlines, train and bus services, guides)
- Leisure (sports, concerts and theatres, bars and restaurants, spas and beauty salons)
- Manufacturing (may vary)
If this is the case for you, think of ways in which you can modify or adapt your business / job to the current situation, or other ways in which you can use your skills. Here are some tips on what you can do when faced with such a situation:
- One possible solution is to start conducting online courses such as “how to master Adobe Photoshop” or “Learning Dutch”.
- You can also try to reinvent your business, for example, delivering food to your customers, providing them with new recipes online, or even DIY courses.
- Watch out for any help the government might provide for you or your type of business.
- Is there another industry that demands your hard / soft skills? If you are an engineer, then it is very probable that your knowledge is needed in other sectors. Or if you are a salesperson, think of what kind of value you could bring to other types of businesses. What transferable skills do you have?
However, if you are unable to, or simply don’t want to modify your business, there are two main options for you:
- Look for a job in another sector with your current skills
- Take a break and develop or expand on your qualifications
If you choose the first option, think of the industries that are still hiring.
High-tech giants (Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, etc.)
They are accustomed to working remotely and may be running the business as usual.
High-tech companies specialising in remote work (Zoom, Slack, Asana, Trello, etc.)
Since the majority of companies are bringing their business online when applicable and possible, these vendors need new workers urgently, to help meet the increased demand.
Online learning companies
Data shows that people are using their time in quarantine to learn new skills. Therefore, there will be an increase in the number of people using distance learning platforms. Increased business demand means an increased need for new hires.
Digital entertainment (movies, games)
Schools and offices are closed, which means that the demand for entertainment has increased, since the easiest choice for many is to watch a movie or play a game. Companies like Netflix are therefore still hiring.
The healthcare sector is always under pressure to hire new talent. Today, this is especially true, as never before. Doctors, nurses and other medical staff are desperately needed in hospitals. Data specialists, researchers, scientists, and communications experts are also of utmost importance.
Pharmacies and medical technology
Pharmacies and medical technology companies are still hiring people to cover the current demand in the market.
If physical shopping is no longer possible, people will resort to online shopping. E-commerce companies are experiencing a boom in sales.
Future job seekers
One way to deal with uncertainty about the future is to think ahead. The crisis will be over one day, and the world will become normal again. However, a large number of people will have lost their jobs or businesses. This means there will be a lot of competition out there. The best thing you can do is BE PREPARED.
Analyse where your industry is going and what skills will be needed
Right now, we can say that jobs that deal with data (analytics, data science and so on) will be needed more so than before. Furthermore, since a variety of businesses are now going online, specialists who have expertise in digitalisation and e-commerce will rock the market.
Finally, this is the time to learn. And learn extensively. A lot of institutions provide their online courses either free of charge, or with extensive discounts. Use this time to develop the skills that you will be capable of selling later.
What if you are working at a secure job, but have been thinking about a career change? Is now the right moment to go about such a change?
Think of the strategies described above. The answer to the question of whether or not you should change your job now depends heavily on the industry and the role you have / want to obtain. Nowadays, it is crucial not to make any “occasional” decisions.
Think strategically and look at the market. Visiting a career coach or recruitment agency can be helpful in this case. The situation we are in now is unprecedented, and nobody can say with certainty what will happen next. However, investing in your own development is always a good idea.
Final piece of advice
Companies are still hiring, but the process may take longer. Instead of an in-person interview, you will probably meet online. What does this mean for you?
- Know the value you bring and be prepared to back it up with numbers and evidence.
- Make sure your application documents (CV, cover letter, LinkedIn profile) are polished and you deliver your value proposition clearly.
- Make sure you are well prepared for the interview (do your research well).
Stay calm and take action.