It seems every new headline spells certain doom for the global economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Every company is at risk of folding, every job at risk of disappearing.
Look no further than a Moody’s Analytics report covered by CNN in March 2020, warning that 27 million American jobs are at high risk of vanishing. These include jobs at hotels, airlines, restaurants, bars, entertainment, and other hospitality and leisure jobs.
Moody’s labeled another 52 million jobs at moderate risk — in areas such as retail, construction, manufacturing, and education. Even side hustlers feel the pinch, from Airbnb landlords to Uber drivers to dog walkers.
Yes, these industries face an uphill battle in the coming months, as many schools and offices remain closed and Americans stop traveling and eating out. But not every company faces a drop-off in demand.
Some businesses, nonprofits, and government organizations have seen a spike in demand in the wake of the outbreak. If you worry your job may be on the chopping block, explore these job options and employers so you can retool your skill set if you need to make yourself hirable in a new field.
No one wants to go to the mall right now. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have physical needs like clothes, kitchen essentials, books, and other home goods.
So even as brick-and-mortar retailers suffer, many online stores have seen an uptick in orders. With so many Americans working from home for the first time, many see fresh appeal in online shopping and free delivery.
Look no further than Amazon’s announcement that it plans to hire 100,000 new employees. Many of those jobs lie in order fulfillment and ensuring that orders go out on time. Amazon even announced $2 raises for many hourly employees in the United States, sweetening the pot further.
Even Target, better known for its in-store experience, continues hiring. They have over 9,000 jobs posted around the U.S. — again, largely in online order fulfillment as many of their sales shift to digital.
Similarly, Walmart is also looking to beef up its online division. Between Walmart and its Sam’s Club arm, the retail giant currently advertises over 33,000 open positions.
We all know people still need toilet paper, after all.
My mother went to the grocery store last week only to find the poultry section empty. She asked an employee when they expected more chicken in and got a surprising response: “Lady, we have pallet after pallet of chicken in the back. But we don’t have enough workers to restock our shelves as quickly as customers are emptying them.”
When people stop eating out at restaurants, they eat more meals at home. That means more grocery sales, especially as panicked buyers try to stock up.
Grocery stores need more cashiers, more inventory workers, and more delivery drivers — more help across the board. If you used to work as a server or bartender or retail clothing cashier and lost hours (or even your entire job), you may find temporary respite in the grocery business.
Grocery chains including Kroger (which owns multiple grocery brands, including Ralphs and QFC), Albertsons (which owns over a dozen brands, including Safeway, Acme, Tom Thumb, and Carrs), Meijer, and Costco need temporary help. The jobs may not meet your long-term career goals, but they can certainly help pay the bills until your industry regains its feet.
Many of the jobs fall on the online side of the grocery industry, which to date has remained relatively small. But during the pandemic, more consumers have found themselves ordering groceries online.
Pro tip: Instacart recently announced they’ll be hiring 300,000 new workers to help handle the increased demand in grocery delivery. If you’re looking for a side hustle, this might be a great time to sign up to become an Instacart Shopper.
Contact Tracing Jobs
A survey by NPR found that states had either hired or immediately planned to hire over 66,000 contact tracing workers in early May. And if that sounds like a lot, it pales in comparison to many estimates of how many contact tracing workers the country will need — up to 300,000, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Tom Frieden told Stat.
While a few contact tracing jobs involve specialized skills like data analysis or developing mobile apps to aid in contract tracing, most of the jobs simply involve telephone work. Contact tracers reach out to people who have been in contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19. They provide essential information, such as where to go locally to get tested, recommendations for self-quarantining, and even basic tips like how to order groceries online.
It typically pays between $17 and $25 per hour and sometimes includes benefits. One perk even more valuable than usual: You can do it from home.
While not a silver bullet in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, contact tracing serves a critical role in reducing transmissions, especially among the most vulnerable population. Every infected person you prevent from seeing and passing the virus on to others, particularly older relatives, helps avert many cases and even deaths.
It’s literally lifesaving work, even if it doesn’t look or feel glamorous.
With so many Americans staying home, the demand for delivery services has exploded. Just because people can’t visit their favorite restaurants doesn’t mean they suddenly want to cook for themselves.
If you previously drove for Uber or Lyft and have seen your fares drop to a trickle, you can earn money with your car by delivering meals or groceries instead. Delivery services like Instacart, DoorDash, GrubHub, Postmates, and Uber Eats all need plenty of help getting orders out right now.
Again, it’s probably not your long-term vision for a career. But you still need to pay the rent until the mayhem passes and businesses resume regular operation.
And delivery jobs don’t end with meal and grocery delivery. With the spike in e-commerce activity, more packages need delivering. FedEx has over 3,000 jobs posted, while UPS currently advertises nearly 2,000 jobs.
As you can imagine, the health care industry has seen an enormous spike in demand over the last several months.
Many health care providers, including hospitals, clinics, private practices, and urgent care facilities, need more help than usual in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. People are still getting sick and injured in all the conventional ways, but the outbreak has put new strains on our health care system. From screenings and tests to treatment and ventilators, many medical facilities are struggling to meet demand.
In early March, Glassdoor reported a tripling of health-related job postings. Medical centers need more doctors, nurses, technicians, social workers, and epidemiologists in addition to the staff that supports them, like receptionists and cleaners. Expect hospitals and other health care providers in most cities to add staff and jobs. For example, a quick look at Indeed’s hospitals now hiring reveals over 83,000 job postings.
Not all these jobs require you to show up in scrubs, either. Some jobs allow workers to work remotely as part of a virtual health care team. For example, Amwell Medical Group (formerly Online Care Group) is hiring for both on-site and remote positions.
If you’ve been thinking about transitioning into a health care-related field, strike now while the proverbial iron’s hot.
Labs, Biotech, Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices, & More
With all the health care spending at the moment comes corollary spending in related fields.
Labs processing coronavirus tests are seeing an uptick in addition to all their usual health testing. And the more people who visit the doctor with a COVID-19 scare, the more business labs do.
A wide range of biotech and pharmaceutical companies have engaged in the high-stakes race to develop a coronavirus vaccine or treatment. To the winner goes potentially billions of dollars in spoils.
But the grand prize of a vaccine or treatment only makes up a fraction of the ancillary coronavirus-related spending taking place at the moment. All of these companies benefit from the general sense of health panic, as demand for health-related products and services booms.
Biotech firms like Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and BioMarin continue hiring at breakneck speeds. Johnson & Johnson, which produces everything from biotech to home health products, can’t fill positions fast enough. Many of their home health products saw a run over the last few weeks — you can’t find their hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes on a single retail shelf in the U.S.
Medical lab and diagnostics companies like LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics have posted similar demand for help. Medical equipment and device sales are up. Health care intelligence and data companies like PRA Health Sciences continue hiring.
If it’s medicine-related, it’s probably seeing higher demand right now. And many of these jobs allow remote work —not just temporarily during the pandemic, but permanently.
Government Health-Related Institutions
In the public sector, health-related organizations have also ramped up spending.
Beyond the obvious academics, researchers, doctors, and epidemiologists, these institutions also need support staff. That staff includes grant reviewers, data analysts, public-relations personnel, and administrative support.
Federal public health organizations as varied as the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institute of Health all need more help. And of course, each state has its own public health department, each of which has also shifted into overdrive.
Regardless of your background, these organizations are hiring, even for entry-level positions, many of which don’t require a college degree.
Tech & IT
Companies still need websites updated, mobile apps designed, intranets managed, cybersecurity, systems administration, and the hundreds of other technical services required in a digital age.
In fact, many need more digital services than ever, as millions of Americans start telecommuting for the first time. Teams need communication and collaboration tools like Slack and nTask and project management tools like Basecamp and Asana.
And of course, government health offices, contractors, and health care organizations all need plenty of tech services as well.
Sweetening the deal, many of these jobs offer telecommuting. You can apply from anywhere, work from anywhere, and continue doing so long after the COVID-19 pandemic passes.
Now makes a great time to make that Internet technology career switch you’ve been procrastinating on for years.
ZipRecruiter saw a 75% spike in cleaner job listings in March, according to MarketWatch. With people in every office, home, warehouse, and factory in America suddenly terrified of virus transmission, cleanliness is more vital than ever before.
With many offices and warehouses temporarily closing, however, these jobs may prove short-lived. Still, there are nearly 310,000 cleaning jobs currently listed on ZipRecruiter.
That level of demand leaves the door open to those with little or no experience — people just looking to get through the next few months. Temporarily marooned hospitality workers may bridge their income here as they wait for their restaurants, bars, hotels, and salons to resume business.
Depending on what they sell, some virtual businesses are struggling, while others are flourishing.
For example, online businesses selling goods and services to restaurants and hotels have had a bad month, with no immediate relief in sight. Those selling household and industrial cleaning products have — pardon the expression — cleaned up.
Many companies still need digital marketers, salespeople, project managers, customer service reps, writers, and other virtual workers. In my own business, which serves real estate investors and landlords, we haven’t seen any dip. If anything, we’ve seen more interest, as investors look for a more stable place to park their money than the stock market.
Virtual jobs network FlexJobs has over 27,000 open jobs currently listed, all for digital work. From tiny startups to major international corporations, all these employers need more digital workers, and pronto.
When we look back in years to come, we’ll find that the coronavirus pandemic accelerated many of the trends already taking place in our society.
Telecommuting had gradually risen for the last 15 years. The COVID-19 outbreak caused millions of Americans to start telecommuting suddenly — and some will likely negotiate permanent telecommuting when the crisis passes.
In turn, that will accelerate the slow decline for physical office space. As more businesses go virtual, more corporate space will convert to residential or coworking usage. Consider the nation’s capital, home to some of the most expensive real estate in the country. Since 2008, over 7.9 million square feet of office space in Washington, D.C., has been converted to residential use, according to commercial real estate broker Jones Lang LaSalle.
Digital payments have increased for decades. But the coronavirus is suppressing cash payments more than ever, as we jump closer to a world without wallets.
Telemedicine, remote learning, physical retail decline in favor of online retail — these are all gradual trends over the last decade that have suddenly been thrown into high gear.
In many ways, our society will return to normal once the outbreak passes. But not in all ways, and many preexisting trends in how we work and live will see a permanent acceleration, even after the panic ends.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your career? How do you plan to cope, and what career or job changes do you intend to make during the crisis?