Loss of jobs is a serious and immediate impact of lockdowns to combat Covid-19, while staggering economic growth and rise in inequality are the long-term effects.
As the global economy continues to suffer as a direct consequence of government-sanctioned lockdowns, the job market reels in its wake. Whether you’re an outgoing grad, mid-career professional, or someone who has been recently laid off and considering alternative career options, you may be wondering what this all means.
The service sector has supposedly taken the worst hit, with restaurants, malls, theatres, gyms, and retailers laying off a large section of workers. However, for knowledge workers such as software engineers and data scientists with remote working opportunities, the results are considerably better.
While the latter group has also experienced lay-offs and salary cuts, the percentage is drastically lower than that of the service sector.
How will COVID-19 impact job security?
If you’ve been laid off or furloughed, chances are, you are not alone. In fact, many others lucky enough to keep their jobs are dealing with high salary cuts and decreased benefits.
Recently, a survey has been conducted among 1,000 American job professionals over two weeks to gauge the pandemic’s micro-level economic impact.
In the first week, findings published on March 18th suggest that 35% of respondents kept their job with no significant changes, while a combined 24% had their hours cut. However, By April 1st, the proportion of job losses shot up from 6% to 12%.
Not only has the unemployment doubled, but more and more Americans are also concerned about their retirement savings, while also spending considerable amounts to cover basic expenses.
The expenses on healthcare and other necessary services have also left people with deep financial setbacks as companies have slashed benefits.
What is the current unemployment rate?
The situation is far from normal, even with lockdown measures coming to an end.
The U.S. Labor Department reported that 10 million people have filed for unemployment insurance in two weeks’ time since the start of April. The numbers are at an all-time high and indicative of the grave situation in the job market.
While the official figures as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics mark the unemployment rate at 4.4%, these figures reflect conditions in mid-March. This was the situation right before several U.S. states closed schools and non-essential businesses.
Nevertheless, economic analysts predict that actual unemployment is somewhere between 13 and 15 percent, and the numbers may not drop anytime soon.
Which companies are hiring now?
Since the coronavirus outbreak, people’s buying and working habits have seen large-scale shifts and changes. This phenomenon has brought about an unprecedented demand in certain industries.
With the recent surge in remote work and digital expansion, SaaS services offering software for communications, project management, and cloud computing are experiencing an overwhelming increase in demand.
That said, Forbes and Indeed.com have recently compiled a list of the top 15 companies with the highest number of job openings paying at least $60,000 annually. The top 5 among them include:
- J.P. Morgan
Will companies become more receptive to remote work?
It’s safe to say that the lockdown has shifted the work scene from conventional offices and taken it to homes. Remote work is the way of the future, and several companies had to jump on the bandwagon, albeit reluctantly.
The transition has been far from smooth as companies continue to adapt and frame policies around the new normal. On the brighter side, numerous studies have shown that remote professionals are more productive than their on-site peers.
However, several organizations still prefer a traditional line of work, so a total shift may not be in order.
Of all industries, start-ups have seen a rapid rise in remote work, and this is a sign that more and more companies are looking to transfer their workload to a digital medium.
What does this mean for you?
If you’re currently interviewing, and applying for different positions, highlight your experience with remote work or study. Companies that are presently investing in remote work infrastructure will most likely want candidates already familiar with the process.
Even with the lockdown coming to an end across Europe and major parts of the U.S., remote work is still heavily pursued and a significant source of opportunity for job seekers.