What you need to stand out in a post-pandemic job market
The pandemic has accelerated existing trends in jobs like remote work, automation and e-commerce, affecting employers and employees in a myriad of ways. Here’s how.
Jobs in the various sectors of the economy were adversely affected by containment measures instituted by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Experts allude that post COVID-19, the job market will change. Already, organisations are opting for gig work/consultants so as to avoid long term commitments.
“Most employers have used this opportunity to restructure and have retained only core staff/people who focus on the core work,” said Ms Juliet Gateri, the Founder and Director of Alternate Doors Consulting.
Outsourcing of staff is becoming popular as companies choose to only pay for what they use – the pay-as-you-go model. Remote working and virtual staff are also becoming common since many companies have learnt how to work around this model and are able to cut costs. Market rate salaries are expected to reduce significantly and there will be a huge competition in the job market. Automation and the use of technology will grow as some jobs can easily be automated.
The 2021 Economic Survey Report by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that the country’s economy shed 187,300 formal jobs in 2020, with the private sector being the most hit, laying off some 206,700 employees. The informal sector (Jua Kali sector) shed 14.5 million jobs, accounting for 83.4 percent of 17.4 million workers in the country.
BrighterMonday Kenya CEO Emmanuel Mutuma said the job market is expected to change mainly due to the fast and deeper adaptation of digital tools and technology that have made it easier, more affordable and even more productive to work remotely.
“Remote working will increase our capacity as organisations to do even more in future and global talent pools will expand. We can have employees from anywhere in the world and be part of teams and organisations. Also, due to the radical changes in the workplace, there are industries and sectors that have majorly been affected by effects of COVID-19, some of these sectors will have to relook at their human resource capacity and as they look to stabilise in the future, these industries may adopt gig jobs or part-time jobs,” said Mr Mutuma.
Recruitment experts advise that the best way to prepare for a post-pandemic world is to gain Information Technology (IT) skills.
The World Economic Forum estimated that 54 percent of all employees will require ‘significant’ reskilling by 2022 to keep up with the digital revolution. The COVID-19 crisis has fuelled this even further with a higher reliance on technology, meaning that desirable skills are changing every day.
Know-how on technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality, machine learning, cloud computing, software development and data analytics are expected to make businesses more resilient to future pandemics, and anyone that can help companies exploit these technologies will be in a great position.
Although it’s unlikely that one needs to know almost everything about IT, demonstrating a solid working knowledge of IT tools will certainly help propel one’s job profile above the rest.
Digital marketing skills – There is a surge in demand for digital marketing specialists in areas such as e-commerce, content creation, social media marketing, search engine optimisation and paid search. All these have been a lifeline for businesses during the pandemic.
Communication skills – The more people continue to work from home, jobseekers will need to have the ability to communicate using multiple channels and platforms including video conferencing, phone and written communications.
Adaptability & creativity – One will need to be innovative and flexible to the ever-evolving workplace and be able to upskill and refresh skills on an ongoing basis.
Emotional intelligence – This is capacity to relate with others, identify and manage self and others’ emotions and even recognise strengths and weaknesses.
Security proficiency – As people continue working remotely, and businesses shift their operations online, cybersecurity is becoming another field that will continue to be in demand.