How will your profession will be impacted by the pandemic?
Activities which can be performed remotely are least impacted by the pandemic.
Remote work and engagement have become and will be a greater part of our lives in the future too.
Individuals and businesses will alter their behavior and processes to adapt to the changed mobility preferences of their social groups, customers, employees, or partners.
Enabling high quality engagement with remote access will engender future innovation, tools, skills and professions.
While more will be done remotely in the future, it will not fully substitute in-person interaction. Social needs, recreation and networking will be the biggest drivers.
The pace of in person engagement will keep increasing steadily and pick up pace once vaccines are available.
These trends will have varying impact on different professions.
IT & Healthcare Technology
The use of rich media in professional and personal interaction will continue at higher levels in the future compared with the pre-Covid19 period.
So will home and curbside delivery of goods & services. Even the smallest provider of food, goods, or services will need to have a robust digital / E-commerce channel.
The need to build and commission better platforms and devices for remote interactivity and commerce will drive the demand for tech workers particularly those in computer & health sciences. The addition of over 200,000 new tech jobs in the USA in the April – June 2020 period during the peak of the layoffs is a pointer of this trend (source Wall Street Journal).
Data scientists & analysts
Increased usage of remote devices, sensors and platforms will generate huge amounts of data which can provide rich insights into consumer / user behavior, as well as actionable trends for making the platforms better, profitable, or available to a broader user base.
This will drive greater adoption of tools & algorithms for data gathering and analysis, for the technicians who can use these tools, and for analysts who know what to look for and how to sift through the data to identify relevant trends and patterns.
Logistics and distribution
The pandemic has accelerated the shift in buying behavior from in-person to online.
This will continue to grow, especially for routine purchases including food, groceries, and repeat purchase of known products which do not need an in-person browsing, touch and feel experience.
It will drive the need for better accessibility to inventory through online portals, availability of that inventory in distribution centers, (vs. stores), and the logistics of prompt and efficient delivery.
Retail stores especially those which are selling the low interactivity, day to day use products will continue to shrink. So will the retail store jobs, especially those of front office clerks.
There will be a corresponding growth in warehouse management, fulfilment & delivery roles.
In the 10 years following the last recession of 2008-2009 there were significant losses in retail store jobs but an even larger increase in in warehouse and fulfilment positions. (Source – Wall Street Journal). This shift will continue.
Home & neighborhood services
More work and personal time will be spent in the home and residential neighborhoods.
This will stimulate demand for home improvement, enhancements, entertainment, and security. The growth and highest ever revenue for Netflix, Disney+, Home Depot & Lowes in the recent period reflects it.
With more people working from home, there will be higher demand for workday meals, food outlets in residential areas, and also for janitorial and related services required for upkeep of home offices.
Routine and sustenance business meetings and even many activities which were erstwhile thought to require in person interaction have also been productively done over video and audio in the past months. These will continue to be done remotely at levels higher than in the pre-pandemic period.
It will reduce the need for in-person interactions & the travel / commute required for them
The time saved during work hours as a result of lower intra or inter office commutes will allow workers to do more and be more productive.
The enhanced productivity will in turn reduce the total requirement of workforce, driving efficiency.
Professions like sales and business development, medical reps, and insurance adjusters, which require high amounts of travel, will have the highest gains in productivity.
Knowledge professions – doctors, lawyers, advisors
In April 2020, 43.5% of primary care visits covered by Medicare were telehealth visits compared to 0.1% in March (source HHS release 7/28/2020). Lockdown & social distancing constraints have driven significant growth in remote / video interaction with doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, tax consultants and analysts.
Going forward too, many meetings with these knowledge workers will be done remotely, especially those where in person contact or examination is not required
It will allow greater reach to consumers & professionals beyond a local commutable region. An advisor or doctor in Dallas can now be more accessible to clients in New York, and have an expanded client base.
This will increase competition and raise the bar of knowledge, expertise & competence required to be successful in these advisory professions.
The enhanced competition will also put pressure on pricing and fees. The “non touch” or low touch professions and roles will move away from high cost areas and consolidate to allow synergies of scale in order to be financially competitive.
Examining professions will be local, consulting professions will be remote.
Touch and feel experiences – recreation, social, shopping & repairs
While much more will be done more remotely, activities which require the need to touch, engage, browse and experience will continue to drive in person contact.
Purchases of fashion products and those where browsing and trial are part of the shopping experience. Similarly, most diagnostic and repair services.
Local & drivable outdoor social & recreational activities, leisure travel and tourism will rebound rapidly. The recent record bookings at Airbnb, record sales of bicycles, and bar b q grills are already pointing in that direction.
Large outdoor congregations and then larger indoor gatherings will follow once a proven vaccine is administered. Concerts, bars, sporting events, & theme parks will be back to peak attendance.
Then slowly, but surely, in person presence in schools, colleges & offices will increase and business travel will grow. In addition to being institutions for education or commerce, these are also venues for social and professional networking; activities which cannot be done as well on video or phone calls.
They also offer the opportunity to get out of the house and not see the same walls seven days a week.
Travel, transportation, hospitality
Reduced corporate travel and commutes for work and personal chores will lead to lower consumption of many goods and services.
Sales of automobiles, gasoline, auto parts, auto repair services, taxi’s / public transportation rides, and parking facilities will shrink.
Demand for premium air travel and hotels, rental cars, conference venues, and formal clothing will also be negatively impacted.
Fewer people in offices will shrink the need for office real estate – and for janitorial, security, and other services which keep the offices humming.
There will be shrinkage of jobs in these sectors.
City and state jobs
Lower collection of gasoline taxes and tolls will reduce funding for mobility infrastructure like roads, bridges, tunnels & public transportation
Shrinkage in tax collections from corporate real estate, hotels / car rentals / will further put a strain on city and state budgets.
City and state governments will have to tighten their belts & employee headcount.
The Covid19 pandemic will have an enduring impact on the way we live, work & engage.
A big shift will be towards much more remote engagement, especially for low touch and sustenance activities.
This in turn will drive greater adoption of technology and tools of remote interaction and drive both personal and professional productivity.
On the other hand, the need for mobility and for goods, services, and professions which serve personal and professional mobility will shrink.
The impact on some of the sectors & professions is outlined in the table below
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