The COVID-19 pandemic will have long-lasting impact in many aspects of our lives and it is safe to say the job market will not come out unscathed. Deloitte says the virus is causing changes so quickly that even forecasting is a challenge. They and other experts see short-term effects and potential long-term fallout affecting the economy and jobs.
Unemployment and Job Loss
Mass layoffs and unemployment are a clear impact post-COVID-19, with levels reaching that of the Depression-era and higher. While many are looking at temporary layoffs, the pandemic has shaped the economy in such a way that some businesses will not survive, leaving people out of work.
As the pandemic fades and businesses re-open, people may still be reluctant to go to restaurants or go shopping. This could be both as a result of health fears and having taken a hit to their own finances. According to FEMA, 40 percent of businesses do not open following a disaster. More than 90 percent fail within two years.
Post-COVID-19, this will leave a lot of job seekers looking for work. Already, we are seeing job reallocation, with companies like Kroger hiring laid-off foodservice and hospitality workers from partner companies. For some, the changed job market will launch them into a new role. Others may have to apply and be hired in a new role in an entirely new company if their job ceases to exist.
Flexibility in creating new positions, such as through partnering with another company for reallocation, can help companies get the people they need to stay afloat in a post-COVID-19 world.
Withdrawal from the Job Market
Some people may lose vital skills while the job market is in flux and ultimately withdraw from it, taking early retirement or going back to school to learn different work skills. While this will make unemployment numbers look better, it can impact future economic growth if those workers do not eventually return to the market. It is a good example of the long-term impacts we cannot accurately predict yet.
Companies wanting to retain workers should focus on hiring employees early and providing opportunities for training and re-qualification. Others may wish to work with post-secondary institutions to recruit students who will be graduating in the field after withdrawing from the job market.
Virtual and Remote Employment
Many companies have been forced to move to virtual, remote work from home options to manage the social and physical distancing requirements of COVID-19. Post-pandemic, the job market may reflect this, with hiring preferences leaning toward candidates who can adapt to different situations, including virtual work. The new coronavirus has shown us that a workplace can change practically overnight. Many businesses will focus on how they can be better prepared for a similar future scenario.
It is clear that the impact of COVID-19 is deep and wide, but with flexibility, creativity, and persistence, companies of all kinds can weather the storm.