Sep 26, 2020 - Economy & Business

How COVID-19 reshapes the jobs of the future

Data: McKinsey; Table: Axios Visuals
Data: McKinsey; Table: Axios Visuals

A new survey of hundreds of executives shows how the pandemic is altering the workforce of the future.

The big picture: The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown millions of people out of work, and the jobs that will emerge from the carnage won't be the same. While some fields may benefit, others risk being left further behind.

What's happening: Consultants at McKinsey interviewed 800 executives around the world to understand how the pandemic is poised to change the shape of work over the long term. Among the findings:

  • 85% of respondents reported their businesses had somewhat or greatly accelerated the implementation of digitization, including videoconferencing and e-commerce. 35% reported accelerating the digitization of supply chains.
  • Nearly half of the respondents said they had accelerated the adoption of automation, with companies in the U.S. and India leading the way.
  • Few executives said they are planning on remaining fully remote after the pandemic, but many were planning a hybrid future where employees could work remotely part of the time.

What's next: As companies continue retooling for the remainder of the pandemic and the years beyond, workers in AI and automation are unsurprisingly poised to benefit.

  • But hygiene and workplace safety were the two areas where the largest proportion of executives reported hiring increases.
  • That includes less glamorous jobs in workplace management and elevator operations, in part because managing the flow and safety of workers in an increasingly hybrid environment will require new forms of expertise, says Susan Lund, a leader at McKinsey Global Institute and a co-author of the report.

The catch: Executives also reported many new jobs will be filled by freelancers and part-timers.

"Left unattended, COVID-19 has the potential to worsen inequality in labor market outcomes."
ā€” Susan Lund, McKinsey Global Institute

Go deeper: Jobs of the future aren't exempt from the pandemic recession

Go deeper