A London escalator at rush hour with lots of commuters

On returning to work, our careers might never be the same again, and now that you are either working from home or furloughed, it’s a good idea to think about how your industry might change once COVID19 is completely over, for better or for worse, and in what direction. This way you can start to plan the next steps in your career, whether you think you need to pivot completely or learn some new skills to keep you in your current position. 

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s, (behind paywall) thinks that there are five especially vulnerable industries to COVID19 including mining/oil and gas, transportation, employment services, travel arrangements, and leisure and hospitality. We’ve already seen Virgin Atlantic make 3,000 employees redundant and Boeing make 16,000 employees redundant, and it’s likely that there will be more redundancies in the future in lots of industries. 

Furthermore, in order to keep going, businesses responded to the crisis by offering more digital initiatives, for example digital currently accounts for more than two times of traditional sales interactions; 97% of B2B companies have shifted their GTM model, primarily through remote selling; 22% believe that their sales models are “very likely” to continue 12+ months after COVID-19.

In understanding how your industry has changed during COVID19, what changes will continue and how they might innovate in the near future and what questions they are asking themselves, you can then think about where you fit into this. How might you be able to work in a specific industry or move across and what more might you need to learn?

Here we delve into a brief insight about the future of your industry so you can plan what skills you might need to develop and make the most of this time. 

Manufacturing and Logistics 

As transport and travel is likely to decrease on all fronts, with a fifth of drivers saying they will drive less than before lockdown, demand for transport manufacturing is likely to decrease. Equally, with a large number of redundancies likely and therefore fewer people in permanent employment, there might also be less consumption of big ticket purchases, apart from that needed to stay at home e.g. computers.

Having said that, factories are keen to get back to work. With global supply chains disrupted post COVID19 (and post Brexit), manufacturing may move back to the UK. This could mean more investment in automation and the expansion of robots, artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, the Internet of things, blockchain and Smart factories.

These changes will lead to the increase in ICT specialists and managers as well as “future skills,” such as digital literacy and cognitive, social, and emotional skills. Demand will decline for administrative roles. 

Consider the business perspective: How do you gain new customers without demo-ing face-to-face? How do you get products to a company’s door? How do you teach individuals to use a new product? Where do your parts come from? How is the product assembled?

Technology and Online Security

Before COVID19, technology was already full steam ahead, but this has been brought even more centre stage. Due to changes in the way that we shop, communicate, travel and work, which will probably not return to previous levels, technology will change accordingly. You may have already experienced communicating with colleagues and clients online, or if not, your children might have through online classes.

It’s likely that we won’t go back to in-person events, either personally or for work, in quite the same way, so technology involving augmented and virtual reality for the masses might come into fruition a lot quicker. The technologies could also be utilised in our shopping habits, with drones delivering our goods. 

Technology might also become normalised in some other aspects of our life. For example, the use of technology to assist mental health in diagnosis and treatment was already in place, but limited before the pandemic. Covid-19 might provide the impetus to introduce more technology into this area, for example, by providing assisted treatment online, via VR or videoconferencing consultations.

With all this technology will come the rise of online security and cloud systems. Although this was already in the mix, it will be deemed to be more important. 

Additionally, smart phones are currently all the rage for personal use, alongside all-in-one tablet-computers or individuals laptops and tablets. However, if we are going to spend more time working from home will people revert back to desk tops in designated spaces? Will smart phones go out of fashion? Furthermore, the current price points are expensive if everyone is going to have one, so will there have to be cheaper ranges and models?

Consider the business perspective: Will technology impact your industry? How will you be using technology day-to-day? How can technology improve the experience you have with your customers? Can you pivot your current business practices to become more technology-focused?

Retail 

Our shopping has taken a huge hit these past couple of months, and apart from groceries and loungewear we’ve literally bought nothing. It’s likely that some of these trends will continue, including the impetus to shop online. We might also not return to the level of restaurant or cafe going that we were used to and takeaways will be the done thing.  

Companies are already shifting their sales to more remote/digital models and some have set up ‘nerve centres’ to manage their sales.

Furthermore, the lockdown has made people more aware of their impact on the environment, and this might lead to a shift in their consuming behaviour. As a result the fashion industry might have more of an incentive to review their current business models and introduce the more sustainable ‘slow fashion’ model

Consider the business perspective: Will technology be used to make sure that items are sent to the right people efficiently? Will customers want to try on items virtually? What technology will be introduced in a slow fashion model? Will more manufacturing be done in the UK?  

Marketing & Advertising

Advertising giant WPP announced that their revenues fell by 7.9% in March and it expects more pain ahead. If people aren’t spending money, who are we advertising to? Additionally, as home life and workplace habits change, how we advertise will also change.

Big sporting events, traditionally high impact advertising opportunities, won’t occur in 2020, and new ways of offering sports and other entertainment to the masses will migrate online and this might continue. This means that it’s likely that there will be less physical out of home advertising  whilst more advertising digitally will increase. 

Consider the business perspective: How will people respond to advertising post-COVID19? Will online advertising be most important? What products will people be investing in? How can we use technology to bring more products into people’s homes before they buy? 

How are industries going to change post COVID19 Gaming

Entertainment

Corrie has stopped filming, Match of the Day is being filmed in commentator’s houses and Saturday Night Takeaway is being filmed without a studio audience. It’s unlikely that we will all be keen to go to the cinema, football or a gig in the near future, but audiences will still pay to be entertained, whether it’s through a Netflix subscription, listening to the latest podcast or buying books. 

However, companies will continue to look for ways to engage their market. For example, in sport, companies are turning to eSport or online simulated events to provide content to their fans.   

Consider the business perspective: How will entertainment industries engage new markets? What technology will they need to invest in? 

Further & Higher Education 

In the immediate future, education may see an increase, as with a recession the prospect of additional qualifications rather than the alternatives of underemployment or unemployment are better.

However, what will happen to education and postgraduate qualifications is also linked to Brexit. Fewer international students will already have decided to come to the UK post-Brexit and this may be compounded by the uncertainty of whether life will be back to normal by September and whether it’s a good idea to travel regardless. This means that universities will need to find new ways to generate income, perhaps by working with more companies to offer apprenticeships and CPD courses, and will also need to deliver more courses remotely.

The COVID-19 crisis has also highlighted that education needs to change in relation to what skills are needed for the future.

Personally consider: How and where will you learn new skills & knowledge?

Travel & Tourism

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has warned the COVID-19 pandemic could cut 50 million jobs worldwide in the travel and tourism industry. Once the outbreak is over, it could take up to 10 months for the industry to recover. 

Furthermore, people’s desire to travel may not return to 2019 levels, so airlines will need to radically rethink their business model to move away from an “efficiency-oriented” towards a “customer-oriented” model. This might involved the introduction of more digital applications to limit in-person interactions and offer more online options for processes such as booking, check-in, and boarding. 

The Industry might also make use of virtual reality (VR) in their marketing to offer potential travellers a try-before-you buy experience which will give people a taste for travel again. VR could also be used by hotels and airlines. 

Personally consider: If you do work in travel and tourism and fear that your job may be affected, in the long run, consider jobs where you can put your skills to good use. If you work in a customer facing role, and are capable of sensitivity and understanding, being calm in stressful situations, working well under pressure and being patient, there are lots of social and healthcare roles that value these skills, whether it’s counselling, caring, or mentoring disabled students.

Hospitality & Events

Like travel & tourism, it’s unlikely that hospitality will return to 2019 levels, especially in terms of corporate events and travel. 

If you do currently work in events, companies will always be hosting these functions, but in what ways? It may be that instead of one big event a year, they put on more local events, tailored to a specific sector or client, or that most of their events will be done online. 

If you work in the food and drink industry, think about how people are going to consume these products. If there are fewer large events, there will be less need for catering. There will also be fewer people popping out on their lunch break to get a quick bite to eat if they are working from home. Equally, there might be a bigger need for ‘in-between’ spaces, where employees can go in the middle of their working day to grab a coffee and get away from the confines of their home. They will want to communicate with their clients while they are there, so they will need the right ambience and the ability to communicate quickly.

Consider the business perspective: How are events going to take place? Who is going to go to them? How will social spaces change?

Energy and Utilities

As we’ve been using our cars less often, pollution levels have risen to the forefront of people’s minds. With a fifth of drivers saying that they are going to use their car less often, COVID19 could be the impetus for change with people more willing to try alternative energies and putting pressure on the government to focus on renewable initiatives.

The International Energy Agency has said the outbreak of Covid-19 would wipe out demand for fossil fuels by prompting a collapse in energy demand seven times greater than the slump caused by the global financial crisis. With this, the Oil & Gas industry fear that 30,000 jobs will be lost.

However, the renewable energy is expected to grow by 5% this year, to make up almost 30% of the world’s shrinking demand for electricity, and the steady rise of renewable energy means clean electricity will play a large part in the UK energy strategy. 

With this, we’ll see an increase in the number of opportunities in renewable energy alongside the pipeline and manufacturing that comes with that.  

Personally consider: If you work in oil and gas what transferable skills can you put to good use? What do you need to understand about the renewable energy industry?

Health and Social Care

The number of jobs in healthcare is unlikely to change post COVID19, however with a new-found belief in the NHS and a Brexit world coming soon, healthcare or social care will be a valuable career for anyone looking to pivot and for a new challenge.  

Pharmaceuticals & Science

For much of the pharmaceutical and related scientific industries, it’s all hands on deck currently. However, as Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business suggests, deglobalisation will be accelerated by COVID19 and with that comes tighter restrictions on the movement of goods, especially in the pharmaceutical and medical-equipment sectors. Brexit will also play a big part in what and whether new projects are funded.

As is likely to be encountered in developing a COVID-19 vaccine, new methods of data sharing which allow for early discussion of a vaccine and machine learning could be useful in speeding up the vaccine process.

The skills we gain in developing the vaccine will continue to be utilised and we may see more investment of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the pharmaceutical industry. 

Personally consider: What skills do you have that can be used in the science sector? What skills will you need when the industry grows?

Construction

The Covid-19 crisis has impacted the construction industry greatly. With the government facing rising deficits, we might see reduced demand in this sector. In addition, residential and commercial projects are affected by unemployment and low GDP growth. However, the government has indicated that the HS2 project is to be go ahead.

However, the growth in electric cars and the introduction of 5G telecommunication does means that the government might want to further develop the national infrastructure, and this might take place alongside a review and improvement of the UK flood defence system. 

Consider the business perspective: How might residential and commercial projects change post COVID19 when working practices change? What infrastructure needs to be in place quickly to ensure that employees can work efficiently and effectively?

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