The COVID-19 crisis has millions of people looking for a new line of work.
Survey Shows Americans Looking for Pandemic-Proof Employment
As states reopen and COVID-19 cases in many states decrease, millions of Americans plan to look for a job they consider “pandemic-proof.”
According to a new survey from personal finance site WalletHub, many Americans plan to find jobs they can perform remotely and avoid industries hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis such as travel, restaurants and other hospitality industries. But is there such a thing as a pandemic-proof job?
“When all is said and done, I’m not sure than any jobs are totally pandemic-proof,” says Christine Sauer, Ph.D., professor emeritus of economics at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Even traditional professions such as medical, education and government have experienced layoffs and furloughs due to the pandemic, says Sauer.
Some jobs seem more pandemic-proof than others, however. Click or swipe to learn how the pandemic is changing Americans’ job searches.
1. Remote and automated jobs more desirable
Around 73.5 million Americans in the WalletHub survey said they plan to look for a job that is more pandemic-proof. While hospitality and travel workers were laid off or furloughed in droves, many people able to perform their jobs from home during the COVID-19 crisis kept their positions.
“Some employers are realizing that it is possible and, in many cases, less costly to allow employees to work remotely,” says James DeNicco, Ph.D., director of the Principles of Economics Program at Rice University in Houston, Texas. “It can also be less costly for workers due to lower costs of living and no requirement to commute.”
2. Americans pessimistic about unemployment
In April, the nationwide unemployment rate was nearly 15%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number reflects a scary spike from pre-pandemic April 2019, when the unemployment rate in the U.S. was only 3.6%.
Almost 80% of those surveyed by WalletHub said they don’t think unemployment rates will return to normal until at least the end of 2021, “if ever.”
3. Travel and hospitality industries more vulnerable
Four in ten Americans told WalletHub they won’t feel safe flying until there is a COVID-19 vaccine. Survey respondents also said they won’t feel comfortable staying in a hotel (27%) or dining out (21%) until a vaccine is available.
Airline, hotel and restaurant industries remain on life support, many barely hanging on, even as the pandemic threat lessens. At the same time, many Americans are still uncomfortable with travel and dining in a restaurant, so those jobs aren’t currently seen as secure.
4. Relocating for a better job an option for many
Around 35 million Americans plan to move to a different city as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the WalletHub survey.
“With work and education needs being more flexible and moving to a more online environment, many families no longer need to be tied to one specific location, especially if they can complete their duties remotely,” says Alvin Chiang, Ph.D., an instructor with the Department of Economics at Florida International University in Miami.
5. Moving can make sense for health and personal reasons
“Moving to a more affordable location or moving to be closer to relatives and friends is a very real reason why many people are moving now,” says Chiang.
People who went stir-crazy in hard-hit, densely populated areas “may be obsessed with moving to a place with open air and a backyard, away from the closely-cramped city life,” Chiang says.
“Families and individuals move all of the time, pandemic or no pandemic,” according to Chiang. “As with most of life’s decisions, if a move makes financial sense and is something that you have planned for, then there is no reason why you should not go ahead and do so.”
6. Holding out for only remote jobs may not be a wise
While it’s true that jobs people could perform from home are more stable during the pandemic, holding out for the perfect remote job while bills pile up probably isn’t a good move.
“While I am sure people would like to find work that will continue to pay them during a pandemic either because the job is deemed essential by bureaucrats or because you are paid a salary and can continue your work remotely, I am not so sure that everyone can hold out for those types of jobs,” says Chiang.
Chiang advises workers to do what they know temporarily in order to get a job and get back on track. Then work towards acquiring the education, experience, and skills necessary to transition to a more stable position.
This article by Deb Hipp was originally published on Debt.com.
Published by Debt.com, LLC