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Expand chart
Data: Cognizant; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Postings for digitally enabled jobs of the future are recovering from a sharp dip during the pandemic, but they still lag behind postings for conventional jobs as companies desperately try to rebuild their workforces.

The big picture: The pandemic hit the labor pool hard across the board, but jobs previously poised to grow in the future lost even more ground as companies retrenched.

  • The fact that future-oriented jobs are finally recovering — if slower than jobs overall — is a healthy sign that the economy may be ready to look beyond the pandemic.

Driving the news: Axios received an early look at the second-quarter numbers from Cognizant's Jobs of the Future Index, which tracks postings in 50 representative jobs classes for the digital and automated economy.

  • The index hit 1.78 in Q2 2021, up from 1.57 in Q1. That represents 467,324 total job postings in occupations ranging from alternative energy manager to fitness commitment counselor to robotics engineer.
  • Q2 saw an increase of 85,200 postings for jobs of the future, an increase of 13% over the previous quarter and 22.3% year on year from Q2 2020 — the period of time when pandemic-driven job loss was at its steepest.
  • Notably all eight of the family categories of jobs of the future — from environmental to work culture — experienced increases in Q2 for the first time since the pandemic began.

Yes, but: The Jobs of the Future Index still lagged significantly behind the All Burning Glass Jobs Index, which tracks the full picture of job openings of all kinds.

  • There was an all-time high of 12.2 million postings in Q2 2021, well above the pre-pandemic peak of 10.6 million postings in Q1 2020.
  • That represented a 56.8% increase year on year.

What they're saying: "The jobs of the future is still tracking underneath all jobs because there has been so much churn in the broader economy," says Robert Brown, vice president in Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work.

  • "But now that pendulum is beginning to swing back into place."

Details: The legal and financial services and environmental categories saw the sharpest increase in Q2, a sign according to Brown that companies are "ready to get their affairs in order" as they come out of the pandemic, and that firms involved in alternative energy and climate resilience are preparing to take advantage of a greener White House.

  • The occupations experiencing the biggest year-over-year increases in postings were physicians — little surprise given the continued need for health care and COVID-related burnout within the field — industrial-organizational psychologist and risk manager/analyst.
  • "That to me is indicative that as companies begin to bring people back to work, they're thinking, 'What do we need to risk and how do we handle hybrid work?'" says Brown.

What's next: Brown argues that companies working in future-oriented sectors are setting their forward strategies now, and in the second half of the year, "jobs of the future will really start to come into focus."

Go deeper

Deloitte U.S. CEO: Employees don’t realize how much power they have

Joe Ucuzoglu; Photo: Deloitte

As CEO of a firm that advises thousands of the biggest U.S. companies, Joe Ucuzoglu knows all about the Great Resignation.

What he's saying: "'The Great Resignation' is really an appropriate descriptor," he says, attributing the phenomenon in part to the very real pent-up demand to change jobs — or even careers — that’s been simmering over the last year.

Poll: The kids are in financial trouble

Photo: Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Americans are more pessimistic than ever before about their kids' financial future, according to new data from the Pew Research Center.

The big picture: It's not just America. A majority in almost all of the 17 countries surveyed by Pew thinks kids will be worse off financially. It's been that way since at least 2013.

Updated 30 mins ago - Sports

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo

Czech 42nd-ranked Marketa Vondrousova (L) shakes hands with Japan's Naomi Osaka after their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women's singles third round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on Tuesday. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Of note: Japan's Osaka is the women's world No. 2, while is Vondrousova ranked No.42.