Business Maverick

BUSINESS MAVERICK OP-ED

Five opportunities for young jobseekers after lockdown

After lockdown, businesses will realise the benefits of incorporating aspects of remote working practices permanently, along with the need for professionals to support them. (Photo: pixabay.com)

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on commerce is the most devastating that South Africa has felt. The government’s rapid reaction to the outbreak has led to a precarious balancing act of curbing the spread of a virus while simultaneously attempting to revitalise an already shaky economy. Here are some options young people might consider.

The impact on jobs and job creation during the pandemic has been far-reaching. The vast majority of companies are either working remotely, have cut down on their staff or have stopped operations due to the necessary restrictive measures that help limit the rampant spread of the virus. Job seekers face a period of uncertainty as they wonder what employment opportunities will be on the horizon after the lockdown. 

As economic activity gradually comes to life again, there is no doubt that the landscape will be radically transformed. Physical distancing will become cemented into our daily lives, and every company will need to re-evaluate their current business models. As within any evolution, we can be certain that with the losses, there will be new opportunities.

The important thing is that young job seekers must stay optimistic and be resourceful in this new period. As Level 4 approaches and certain industries begin to open, these are some of the areas in which job seekers can find jobs post lockdown:

Entrepreneurship

Community-based businesses will become prominent as travelling in crowded public transport to metros becomes less popular. Looking for gaps in the changing world will allow those with an entrepreneurial mindset to succeed. For instance, the need for masks and affordable sanitation products will continue to increase, especially when people reintegrate into social spaces. Looking into starting a small business that creates products that are currently essential, or reduces risk and travel, is just one area where new possibilities for revenue will arise.

Skills outweigh credentials

Most companies are looking to hire someone with the right attitude for the job and enough practical skills to get the job done. The skill-set that requires a qualification falls on the backburner when profit and production are prioritised. However, with the right amount of time, they can be taught as they are communicable. During this lockdown period, it’s incredibly important to upskill and take up short online courses. To rebuild, most companies will be hiring people who have adapted to the changes.

Remote work and digitisation will become the new norm 

Until this crisis, South Africa had been slow to make use of technology across the industry. The lockdown has forced the industry to almost instantly adopt remote working practices, with steep learning curves. After lockdown, businesses will realise the benefits of incorporating aspects of this reality permanently, along with the need for professionals to support them. IT specialists, cybersecurity experts, and remote working specialists will be in high-demand as companies, schools and healthcare try to source the most effective and suitable technology for their purposes.  

Drivers and deliveries

Many will be reluctant to leave home even as the restrictions lift. Already prior to Covid-19, the demand for scooter and other drivers outstripped supply. Anyone in possession of a learner’s licence can apply for a scooter driver position. Retail stores are seeing a surge in demand for home deliveries, which will likely continue. 

Gig economy

As businesses reopen, they will be looking to keep risk low. Uncertainty means that hiring permanent staff will be slowing, so gig workers will need to fill the gaps. Contract workers in every industry, particularly service-related fields, retail and manufacturing, will offer the young job seeker opportunities to gain experience and earn an income. Local gig platforms will become mainstream, connecting suppliers with individuals and companies needing services performed.

A boost in job creation is necessary for the growth of the economy and the need to innovate and adapt to the changes that we are confronted with is vital if we are going to survive the aftermath of Covid-19. BM

Jake Willis is CEO of recruitment firm Lulaway.

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