From drone operatives to virtual outfit designers, career experts offer up advice on the vocations to set our sights on post-pandemic. Introducing the jobs of the future.
The current business landscape reads like a paragraph from a dystopian novel; skyscrapers sit empty, once buzzing with employees in power suits, now eerily vacant after a killer virus forced 80% of the world’s workforce into lockdown.
In April 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, nations across the globe adopted work-from-home schemes. Around 80% of people in the private sector in the UAE, had to work from home, creating a drastic shift in the way businesses operate. And, according to experts, forever altering our career landscapes.
Virtually overnight, countries moved from working globally to looking inwards at their own supply chains in the food and energy sectors. But, while the future of some industries remains uncertain, with change comes great opportunity in other sectors, believes Jonathan Black, Director of the Careers Service & Internship Office at the University of Oxford. “I’m very positive about all the changes that are coming,” he says.
“The new era of virtual work is here to stay,” says Alain Dehaze, CEO of worldwide recruitment powerhouse The Adecco Group. Black agrees, “What the pandemic has done has accelerated the internet by about 10 years.” To keep up with the changing landscape, individuals will have to retrain and adapt. Dehaze advises, “Workers will have to invest more time in re-skilling, as soft skills and digital skills will become a must.” Additionally, businesses and organizations will need to be more flexible and accommodate changes, they’ll need to “embrace remote work and automation while creating a more flexible and de-centralised workplace.”
The industries predicted to thrive post-coronavirus include: “tech, sustainability, pharmaceuticals, supply chains and e-commerce,” says Catherine Broome, the lead recruitment consultant for Fashion & Luxury at Odgers Berndtson, working across the UK, Europe and the Middle East. “Governments will become more dynamic and strategic, and although arts and culture is having funding issues right now, [post-pandemic] it will become more relevant and interesting to people,” she wagers.
Broome forecasts that the fashion industry will benefit from a cultural and technology cross-over. “When people are able to finally see each other there will be a boom in experiences,” she says. “Leading luxury brands, as an incentive to their high-net worth individuals, will be providing experiences as opposed to products.” Previous examples of this include Fendi and Bulgari contributing to the restoration of Roman sites including the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, respectively. Dedicated to contemporary art and culture, “the Prada Foundation is the first thing they re-opened in Milan [after lockdown], because they consider that the most important part of their public service,” says Broome.
Digital collaboration will also play a vital role in the fashion industry. “We are absolutely fundamentally changing the paradigm of how we shop… through the supply chain, digital and e-commerce.” Broome believes those entering the digital and data careers will flourish. It’s now all about targeting specific groups, which she calls “communities of passion”, instead of mass marketing. Louis Vuitton, for example, has partnered with video game developers Riot Games to make pricey digital outfits or “skins” for characters in the computer game League of Legends. Meanwhile, e-sports company Gen.G has teamed up with Benefit Cosmetics to create an all-women’s Fortnite team. One thing is for sure “careers are going to be very different,” says Black, now it’s all about “embracing a new world”.
Our careers experts suggest five roles to consider in the job market of the future, wherever in the world you may find yourself:
The pandemic has reinforced an emphasis on national supply chains that affect many industries including manufacturing, food and energy. “It doesn’t look very attractive, but if I was a mathematician I’d go into the back offices of farms, stores, and online delivery businesses – that’s where I’d be applying my analysis and technology skills,” says Black.
2. Virtual fashion designers
“I probably wouldn’t go into the men’s tailoring industry at the moment,” says Black, “I don’t know if we’re ever going to wear suits back in the office.” However, Broome believes the fashion industry is evolving, and the gaming-fashion industry could be interesting consideration for designers, creatives and tech fans. Louis Vuitton recently released a fashion collection for the action-strategy video game League of Legends, with one item of clothing, a virtual jacket, priced at US$5,600.
3. Data analyst
With physical stores and retailers struggling, customers will be providing more and more of their own data to brands and retailers online. Anything and everything you buy, especially consumer products, will be measured on data analytics, believes Broome. “Whether you are a sneaker freak or watch collector, companies will need to work on getting to know your ‘community of passion’,” she says. “Because of social distancing, there will be less personal interaction,” and data collecting allows companies to hone and to develop their communication with potential clients.
4. Drone operator
“There are obvious things not to go into at the moment, like aviation and tourism,” says Black, but drones are one kind of aircraft that do pique his interest. “We’ve seen them replanting a new forest, in places that people can’t get to, up steep slopes and so on. We’ve seen them delivering blood in war-torn countries. I think there are going to be opportunities here,” he says.
5. Town planner
With advanced technology and large volumes of staff working from home, towns and cities may change as we know them, and jobs are likely to arise because of this; “We’re going to be repurposing commercial buildings,” says Black. “I would imagine 30% of office space will be remodeled. It would be great to have it as social housing.” Transport planning will also be needed, as many governments are asking residents to avoid using public transport, “meaning more cars on the roads, which we don’t want. So transport planners are going to have to find another way,” he adds.