Not only did the global COVID-19 pandemic bring entire industries to verge of collapse and force businesses to close or adapt, but it also changed the workforce for us as individuals, with remote work becoming the norm.
In our 2021 study “Career Choices: Pursuit of Viable Careers, Post-COVID”, we collected data from our CareerHunter test-takers, and the results might help you understand a bit more how COVID-19 has ultimately impacted people’s career choices.
Let’s dive into some of the industries with the most change and see how our career mentality and career interests changed right along with it.
Careers in healthcare
Healthcare as we know it was forever changed by COVID-19; governments were issuing mandated policy changes during COVID-19 to keep up with the daily changes and increased demand. While the demand was there for medical professionals, a lack of essential items and the cancelation of non-emergency surgeries resulted in a staggering $323.1 billion loss of revenue in 2020 alone.
Those in the medical field adapted, and the major change is the way people receive care. Telehealth went from a luxury to a necessity in an instant as we entered a virtual world, and now over 38% of patients received care via telehealth — something unheard of pre-pandemic.
Employment of medical professionals is projected to grow 16% between 2020 and 2030, making this industry the one to watch as career interests continue to change in a post-pandemic world.
Careers in transport
COVID-19 changed the way we traveled substantially in a way that had never happened before and may never happen again.
American Airlines alone lost $8.9 billion due to COVID-19, while automakers were faced with 41% of US consumers reconsidering the number of vehicles in their household and companies like Uber and Lyft ending their ride sharing to stop the spread. Transportation is what made our world go round, and it all stopped in 2020.
The future of transport careers is looking up post-pandemic; the number of those flying again each day is increasing steadily, compared to the 2020 numbers, and restrictions are lessening. Automakers, while still facing post-pandemic hurdles (like a 14.8% decrease in sales in the first quarter of 2022, as well as increased automation), they are undergoing the most exciting period of innovation in its history.
Careers in retail
Like the transport sector, the world of retail and was hit hard by the pandemic. Lockdowns resulted in store closings for even the larger organizations like Disney and H&M in what is now called the “retail apocalypse”. While retail focused on virtual, online shopping skyrocketed, adding an extra estimated $218.53 billion to US eCommerce sales in 2020 and 2021.
eCommerce has changed consumer behavior, so if the retail industry can adapt, growth can continue to happen. This industry faces a transient environment, and employment of retail workers is projected to show little or no change from 2020 to 2030. As this industry restructures and refocuses its campaigns to adapt to demand for all things online, there’s potential for increased interest in these careers.
Careers in food and drink
Restaurants, fast food places and bars were in their own world when the pandemic hit. These companies tried to stay afloat with the options for delivery and takeout, utilizing servers and turning them into delivery drivers, but more than 110,000 eating and drinking establishments closed, either temporarily or for good.
As the world started to reopen, food careers bounced back, with employment for this industry projected to grow 17% from 2020 to 2030. It’s not without fear, however; due to the hit the food and drink industry took, our research found that fewer people are considering a career in this sector.
But with dining establishments taking the knowledge from the pandemic (including changing marketing tactics, upgrading sanitation tracking, and scaling down menus) and applying it to their business models moving forward, we can only hope to continually see growth and trust in the stability of this industry again.
Careers in arts and entertainment
It’s no surprise that theme parks, casinos, plays, concerts, sporting events and movies felt the impact of COVID-19; we weren’t allowed to experience these arts and entertainment activities that were once taken for granted.
Arts and culture contributed $877.8 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product, so to have this stop, it not only hurt the industry but also had a huge impact on the economy.
The industry adapted remarkably, though: virtual wine tastings took place, plays came to alternate viewing platforms, and movies became available to purchase through streaming services.
Substantial impact was met head on by this industry, which is undoubtedly reaping the benefits because of it. Growth for the arts and entertainment industry is projected to continue upward, 22% from 2020 to 2030, much higher than the average for all industries — no doubt due to the visible interest in these careers post-COVID.
What individual career aspects changed?
When it came to COVID-19, the pandemic took no prisoners — the industries above are a testament to that.
But it wasn’t only the industries that were affected; it came through and changed aspects of ourselves that directly relate to our careers without our permission, and maybe even without our knowledge. Some of the specifics that changed drastically due to the pandemic include:
- What motivates us to work
- How we prefer to work
- Our particular interests
What was once a teamwork-driven society capitalizing on office competition is now comprised of 61% of workers saying they’re choosing not to go into their workplace and instead prefer working from home.
Our work personalities, meanwhile, are heading into the direction of individualist factors versus the community that was once a driving factor. With the remote work percentage prior to COVID-19 being as low as 6%, skyrocketing during and after the pandemic, the return to work has not come with the excitement it was hoped to bring.
It’s clear that interests have changed, companies that were once considered to be the best places to work for are now the least popular. Like it or not, it wasn’t just the industries themselves that changed; our mindset and mentality about work changed right along with it.
It’s true that post-COVID careers have changed and the way we think about our careers has changed, but we are resilient. If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that. Although much has changed, so has our ability to grow and adapt in the face of a crisis.
To sum up, here is how COVID-19 has impacted career choices:
- The healthcare, transport, retail, food and drink, and arts and entertainment industries are projected to grow much faster than the average of all industries.
- Despite the projected growth of employment in these industries, some industries are met with caution — the food and drink industry, for example, ranks low among the preferred interest areas of CareerHunter test-takers.
- Conversely, more and more people are interested in pursuing a career in the art and design industry, followed by business and management, and counseling and social services.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your own career choices and interests? Join the conversation below and let us know!