Covid-19 accelerated the shift to digital and remote work, along with trends like automation and e-commerce. The onset of the pandemic also had a significant impact on high proximity occupations in areas such as leisure and travel, manufacturing, onsite customer service, and personal and medical care. Work areas involving high physical proximity may require the adoption of AI and automation to increase both safety and productivity.
A recent KPMG study reveals that the majority of Canadians (77 percent) would like to work both in the office and remotely post-Covid-19. About 67 percent of respondents also said they were satisfied with working from home.
The good news for many is that hybrid and remote work are likely to become the new norm. Careers with bright prospects and flexible schedules abound, from workplace environment architect and work-from-home facilitator to mortgage underwriter and director of accounting.
Automation and AI
Many companies are in the process of adopting and deploying AI and automation in manufacturing plants, call centers, grocery stores, and warehouses. The goal is to cope with increasing demand, reduce workplace density, and improve worker safety. Sectors with high levels of physical proximity are expected to be the biggest adopters of AI and automation, including healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.
The acceleration in adoption of AI and automation has already resulted in a growing demand for jobs such as computer system analyst, hardware and software engineers, and data engineers and scientists. In-demand AI jobs also include:
- Software architect
- Machine learning engineer
- Full stack developer
- Information research scientist
- Big data architect
- Business intelligence developer
- Site reliability engineer
Career paths with bright prospects include natural language processing, user experience, data analytics, and data mining and analysis. AI professionals are tasked with building models, finding patterns and anomalies, interpreting and analyzing datasets, developing virtual assistants and chatbots, and more.
The Virtual Economy
Virtual transactions are also likely to soar in the coming years, including streaming entertainment, online banking, and telemedicine. Virtual practices are expected to continue above pre-pandemic levels, with in-demand occupations such as streamer, influencer, community manager, channel editor, and influencer talent manager.
As the pandemic caused a surge in e-commerce, the digital marketplace offers a wealth of job opportunities. Occupations with bright prospects are:
- Virtual assistant
- Customer service representative
- Business analyst
- Marketing specialist
- Digital operations manager
- Supply chain manager
- Director of commerce
- Online merchandizer
- Customer satisfaction manager
E-commerce occupations are already in high demand, along with skills such as market automation, search engine optimization, advertising, data analysis, and data collection and testing.
Jobs in Manufacturing
As Canada has already reopened its economy, jobs in manufacturing, procurement, supply chain management, warehousing, and construction have gained popularity. In the short term, occupations that are likely to see a surge in demand post-Covid-19 include warehouse inventory personnel, production supervisors and leads, and supply chain management jobs.
During the ongoing pandemic, registered nurses, laboratorians, and epidemiologists have been on the front lines. The development of new vaccines and treatments will continue to support good job opportunities for pharmacologists, bio-information professionals, virologists, and immunologists. With population aging, the need for eldercare is projected to increase significantly between 2021 and 2028. Occupations that are expected to be in high demand post Covid-19 also include:
- Speech language pathologist
- Nurse practitioner
- Clinical laboratory technician
- Physician assistant
- Occupational therapy assistant
- Personal care and home health aids
- Dental assistant
Demand for online healthcare will continue after the pandemic as patients increasingly seek ways to safely access medical services and care. A survey by the Canadian Medical Association shows that 46 percent of Canadians prefer telecare as an entry point to the health system. The vast majority of respondents or 91 percent said they were satisfied with telehealth services. As many Canadians accessed healthcare remotely, via mobile or video technology, virtual care is likely to become the norm, at least in the near post-Covid future.
Jobs That Might Vanish Post-Covid-19
Automation, AI, e-commerce, and the shift to digital might make some jobs redundant or extinct. The prolonged pandemic also triggered shifts in work preferences that are likely to stay. According to a recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute, about 1/5 of employees might end up working remotely long-term. About 20 percent of business travel is also unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels. What this means is that downtown shops, restaurants, and hotels might require fewer jobs.
Also, job automation tends to accelerate during recessions, with businesses looking for ways to cut costs by implementing new technologies. This is a likely scenario for manufacturing plants and warehousing facilities that will still have directors and engineers but fewer individual workers.
Other occupations that might vanish due to improved technology include:
- Parking enforcement workers
- Locomotive firers
- Postal service mail sorters
- Mail superintendents
- Telephone operators
- Data entry keyers
- Legal secretaries
- Photographic process workers
- Weaving machine operators
According to the International Labor Organization, 23 million jobs will vanish and never return. Also, a 40-60 home-office split during work days is likely to become the new normal. The global pandemic, will have a long-lasting impact on economies, businesses, and jobs around the world. Recent job postings also offer insights into what jobs are going away and what are emerging. Experts note a decline in postings seeking pet groomers, beauty consultants, food service workers, human resources personnel, and administration assistants. Jobs in demand, on the other hand, are positions in essential services, agriculture, healthcare, and IT. Millions of people who lost their jobs will not return post-pandemic, clearly showing the importance of retraining and upskilling.