Finding work during the COVID-19 pandemic

Find out from a talent and recruiting expert where jobs may be available—and how the coronavirus has changed employment.

For many people, coronavirus-related shutdowns and social distancing led to layoffs, furloughs or lost income. Even those whose jobs weren’t immediately affected had to wonder about job security. 

COVID-19 may have changed the job market and created an uncertain future. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities out there. Just ask experts from the talent and recruiting firm ettain group

Paul Taylor, president at ettain group, says he’s seen quite a few industries and businesses still hiring—even as they adjust to a new way of operating.

As companies reconsider how they do business, ettain group’s clients are embracing remote work.

“We’re seeing hybrid models where companies are trying to embrace flexibility and have a highly mobile workforce,” Taylor says. “Many want to rebound stronger and hire talent now.”

Where you might find work

Taylor predicts people with the skills to work remotely will be in high demand. He refers to it as “knowledge work” and cites examples like marketing, sales, writing, data analysis and web development.

And the following industries and sectors may offer the best opportunities for job seekers in the coming months.

Information technology

IT jobs can be found across industries. And there are plenty of specialties within IT, including networking, cloud computing, programming, cybersecurity and tech support, to name just a few.

And it’s a growing field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported earlier this year that the IT sector is likely to grow more on average than any other industry, and COVID-19 hasn’t slowed that down in the U.S.

“We expect IT to be among the most resilient staffing segments,” Taylor says, “with 3 percent to 4 percent growth in 2021, back to pre-COVID levels.”

This is due in part to “a shift to more virtual processes,” Taylor says, which take skilled employees to implement. He adds that IT projects are also becoming a key part of growth and profitability.

Data analysis

You may not know exactly what the internet of things is. But it’s all around you in smart devices, connected appliances, cars and beyond. And it’s on track to be a trillion-dollar business in the next five years, according to some estimates.

Called “IoT” for short, the technology enables devices to connect to the internet—and one another. All that connectivity generates massive amounts of data. And that means job opportunities, according to Taylor.

Companies need skilled data analysts to help them translate all that information into useful insights. That’s especially true for industries around telecommunications, health care, manufacturing and consumer devices.

There’s also artificial intelligence, or AI. Taylor says that much like the internet of things, AI has the potential to transform entire industries. And that puts people with data science and AI skills in high demand.

“While we’re still in the early stages, [AI] implementations are already swiftly going mainstream,” he says.

Health care

Taylor says there’s been stability and strength in the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device sectors.

Companies that handle the business side of health care, such as enrollment, claims and payments for health care providers have also remained steady.

“On the payer side, it’s been very stable,” Taylor says, referencing insurance companies. “They’ve traditionally embraced remote work, which made the transition during COVID-19 a bit more seamless.”

Banking, financial services and insurance

Banks, lenders, financial services and investment firms have held relatively steady through the pandemic, Taylor says. Hiring at accounting services has also remained robust.

He also emphasized that many of these kinds of organizations already have established processes to hire and train people remotely.

And that’s helped them maintain momentum during the pandemic.

Grocery and home improvement

When many people began working from home, supermarket employees and delivery drivers kept showing up to work. Even as shoppers stayed away, delivery and pickup services allowed many businesses to stay afloat and maintain social distancing. Some businesses even thrived.

“Retail was decimated in many areas, but home improvement and grocery have been booming,” Taylor says.

He says existing digital technology helped those industries make it though. And with online orders to fill and shelves to stock, some estimates indicate the grocery industry alone added as many as 3 million additional jobs.

If you’re interested in a job that puts you in direct contact with people, it might be a good idea to consider your health and other risk factors before you apply.

Marketing and sales

Digital marketing and sales became a priority for businesses looking to drum up sales and new customers after the coronavirus hit.

“Many companies have been doubling down on their investments around sales and lead generation,” Taylor says.

The focus has been on promotions, campaigns and advertising related to the current situation. Outreach efforts can be done by email, social media, websites and traditional media as well. And many marketing and sales roles can be performed remotely.

Skills that translate well to these types of jobs include expertises in planning, strategy, writing and more.

Changing demands in the job market

Every business has had to adjust in some way to the spread of COVID-19. But Taylor explains that businesses with digital-first models have been able to handle the crisis best. And some have found themselves hiring more people to handle the additional workload.

“Some industries were quite steady, while others saw increased demand for talent,” Taylor says, mentioning IT and customer service as examples of industries that needed additional staff.

If you see your industry in decline, it may be worth examining other options.

Alternate career options

Survey data Taylor shared shows almost 4 in 5 people wouldn’t consider switching industries if they could keep their current job. And the No. 1 reason why? They don’t think another job is out there.

“But that’s just not true,” Taylor says.

Now could be the perfect time to consider how you can apply your experience and expertise to another field—or learn new skills that could make you a good fit.

“If you’re open to switching jobs, you could actually increase your demand and earning potential during this time,” Taylor says.

Networking and online resumes

No matter where your job search takes you, Taylor has a few tips for making yourself stand out. It starts with refreshing—or creating—your LinkedIn profile.

“Being proactive with your online profile, networking and relationships can put you in control of your own destiny,” he says.

Next, stay in touch with people in your network—and build new relationships.

“A tremendous amount of opportunities come from relationships and referrals,” Taylor says, reminding job seekers to be proactive, because opportunities often come from your network.

With so many unknowns—and so many other people out of work—your next job may not hire you immediately. If you’re having trouble while you look for a job, these Capital One® guides to unemployment benefits for traditional employees and independent workers may help.

You can also stay ahead of the curve by paying attention to hiring trends and learning opportunities. By knowing where to look and which skills you might need, you may be able to use this unpredictable time to change careers or even land a dream job.

Learn more about Capital One’s response to COVID-19 and resources available to customers. For information about COVID-19, head over to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Government and private relief efforts vary by location and may have changed since this article was published. Consult a financial adviser or the relevant government agencies and private lenders for the most current information.

We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.

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