A few days ago, news circulated in several nations, stating that there is a high chance that there will be a second wave of the Novel Coronavirus. BBC News described this second wave of the pandemic as a wave in the ocean that goes up and then down, and comes another wave. Similarly, now that the lockdown restrictions have eased and the world is trying to bounce back to normalcy, it is highly suspected that the number of patients infected with COVID-19 will rise again. When the virus hit the world, it resulted in the loss of millions of jobs and the economy took a downturn. The US alone lost 20.6 million jobs more than doubling the number of jobs lost during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Organizations have begun hiring back and also a number of furloughed employees are going back to their jobs. But how long is this going to last? What happens when the second wave hits the world and we go back to square one?
Let us look at some of the ways in which a second wave could impact the job market.
1) Remote Working will Prevail
From the onset of the pandemic, nobody knew what to expect out of it. All we knew was that it was a virus that was spreading like wildfire and everything needed to be shut to stop the spread.But it led the organizations to embrace a new work style, i.e. remote working in order to stay relevant in the industry and survive. . If and when the virus begins to spread again, a number of firms now know how to manage WFH which means they will be prepared to let their employees work remotely and carry out critical operations. Jobs that can be done from home will most likely be done remotely if their business is sufficient enough to survive.
2) Benefits Packages will be different
Before the pandemic, the benefits packages were quite different from what they are expected to be in the future. The employees will now lean more towards the jobs that offer them the most appropriate health benefits packages and focus more on the well being of the employee instead of other lesser relevant benefits.
It is anticipated that jobs will need to shift their focus on tax saving health packages that will deliver more value to the employees, along with them being offered online rather than requiring them to get procedures done in-person.
3) Another round of massive drop in employment
Non-technical jobs such as jobs in restaurants, hospitality, tourism, airlines, and many such industries will witness another huge drop in the employment arena in order to control the spread of the virus, at least till the time a vaccine arrives in the market. Small, local businesses might not be able to survive the second hit which can result in various firms filing for bankruptcy and employees of these industries becoming jobless.
4) Recovery will take longer
The world will recover from the pandemic, but the businesses and employees might not be able to! Organizations going out of business translates into a lesser number of job opportunities and higher competition in the job market. There will be freshers straight out of college waiting to get a good job, furloughed employees waiting to be called back to work, laid off workforce expecting to seek a position equivalent to their previous one, but less availability of jobs. The recovery time will be longer for the job market.
5) Increased Job Insecurity
When an employee loses a job once, it leads to insecurity, that there is a chance that it might happen again. When organizations are unstable, there is always job insecurity. The possibility of employees losing their jobs will be quite high due to the market and economic conditions. As long as there will be uncertainty in the industry, there will be reduced job security.
We’re not sure when will the second wave strike the nations and its wrath will be expended on the working class. We need to be prepared, and ensure there’s minimum damage and maximum productivity to sustain in the industry.
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