Five areas of the economy are likely to drive job growth once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, providing policymakers, educators, and employers with time to plan and make the most of these opportunities, according to the latest research from Burning Glass Technologies.
Recessions usually accelerate change in the job market and the circumstances of the pandemic make this especially true. Technological innovation, such as automation, was expected to change the job market even before the pandemic hit. And the stresses of the pandemic showed weaknesses in many systems that organizations are still struggling to address.
The five economies are where technological innovation and post-pandemic adaptation will come together, accounting for 15.5 million to 18 million new jobs created over the next five years. These jobs represent significant fractions of the labor market: currently 13% of demand and 9% of employment.
Even more importantly, these roles are inflection points for the broader economy. A shortage of talent in these fields could set back broader recovery if organizations can’t adapt to these demands.
The five economies identified in the report, “After the Storm: the Jobs and Skills that Will Drive the Post-Pandemic Recovery,” include:
The Readiness Economy: The pandemic has shown the weaknesses in health care, cybersecurity, insurance, and a range of other fields that provide social resilience. Roles like cybersecurity experts and engineers will be in demand, but so will project managers and other organizers of work.
The Logistics Economy: Anyone who tried to buy a roll of toilet paper in the spring of 2020 knows how supply chains failed under the sudden new demands of the pandemic. Besides new demand for advanced logistics skills, there will likely also be growth in advanced manufacturing, and the Internet of Things will become more critical to creating chains that are both efficient and resilient.
The Green Economy: Even before the Biden administration’s new emphasis on climate policy, the nation’s energy system was slowly but steadily shifting to renewables. Ambitious climate goals and incentives are likely to speed the shift.
The Remote Economy: In at least some fields and roles, the shift to remote work forced by the pandemic is likely to be permanent. A growing dependence on data, software, and networks will drive change, while eventually artificial and virtual reality will play a larger role.
The Automated Economy: The pandemic won’t slow down the adoption of automation and artificial intelligence—if anything it will accelerate the trend. Employers will prioritize automation over hiring back low-value workers. Jobs developing—and driving—automation will thrive.
Overall, these jobs pay well, with the median salary for all five economies at roughly $59,000 per year, 34% above the national median. And growth in these economies outperformed the overall economy at the height of COVID-19. Between March and September 2020, job postings in these economies were up 11%, even as the overall market fell -12%.