The proportion of workers who transition to new occupations will be as high as 25% by 2030. What will some of those occupations be? RADIUS staff explores five careers trending because of the pandemic and the rise of remote work.
The pandemic shook workplaces up. Most employees (72%) say they would prefer a hybrid mix of in-person and anywhere working. Fortunately, more than half of businesses today expect remote work to be a permanent part of their workforce strategy.
That’s good news—but only for some. Many jobs that went away aren’t coming back. Nearly 100,000 businesses permanently shut down, according to Yelp.com’s Local Economic Impact Report. And with technology, especially robotics, automation and artificial intelligence (AI), coming into their own, it’s not surprising that nearly 4-in-10 workers (39%) believe their jobs will be obsolete within five years.
Still, there’s a silver lining. Emerging careers using digital technologies expanded, driven by the need to:
- Enable distributed workers.
- Support new business requirements.
- Protect the safety, health and well-being of employees.
Here are five careers—and tech—accelerating because of COVID-19 and remote work:
1. Chief Automation Officer
Digital transformation continues apace. In fact, it sped up during COVID-19. A full 75% of enterprise leaders surveyed by MIT Technology Review Insights believe digital transformation efforts accelerated because of the pandemic. And this acceleration was substantial—by three or four years, according to McKinsey.
A cornerstone of transformation is automation. Technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) and automation tools are transforming companies. So, too, can the right digital foundation. A secure, flexible digital foundation underpinning transformation projects lets teams integrate tomorrow’s technologies while making the most of what they have today. It replaces manual processes with automation to dramatically boost business agility and operational efficiency.
But because tools are increasingly easy to use, non-technology users are creating islands of automation across enterprises. This can fragment data and slow decision making. A chief automation officer is needed to head a strong automation center of excellence that manages all automation initiatives, ensuring consistent quality and standardization of tools.
2. Virtual Events Planner
When COVID-19 hit, some of the biggest business and technology conferences in the world were all canceled. But gatherings like this are extremely popular because it’s where exciting new ideas and products are debuted, and customers get a chance to trade stories.
Many events turned virtual. But with mixed results, at first. Attendees missed the buzz of live panels and demos. Speakers recorded their speeches in empty studios devoid of feedback, often because enterprises lacked the right knowledge and solutions to ensure shows could go on.
Virtual events professionals sprang into action. They began working with IT teams to quickly digitize events. And this meant taking advantage of multi-cloud infrastructure, webinar tech, video conferencing platforms and other tools to make virtual connections.
3. Employee Experience Manager
Scoring high in customer experience is considered critical for business success. And a primary contributor to a good customer experience is employee experience.
If employees are happy, they do a better job supporting customers, making them happier, too. Now, with workers distributed—sometimes across the world—it’s both harder and more important to keep tabs on their satisfaction. Among other things, it means ensuring that people have the right technologies to do their jobs. This means accessing the right data and applications, collaborating with remote peers, and securely getting the job done through an anywhere workspace.
Assigning an employee experience manager to keep on top of the employee experience is becoming business critical. And this role continues to evolve—as part of IT and HR organizations—moving into an executive leadership position.
4. Safe Facilities Designers and Operations
Once companies start welcoming employees back to work—whatever the conditions—businesses will need different kinds of physical spaces:
- Safe distancing between desks or cubicles.
- Plastic shields.
- Properly sanitizing supplies and equipment.
- And much more.
Someone needs to take charge of these activities. This gives rise to new generation of employees who are responsible for managing intelligent facility designs and operations. For example, many companies are designing “hoteling” offices now that not everyone is coming into the office every day. Under hoteling, employees make a reservation for a desk or conference room (unlike “hot desking,” which is more of a free-for-all). When they arrive at work, everything they need is waiting for them.
This person also collaborates with IT to provide the right equipment and customized support for individual employees exactly when they need it.
5. Health Monitors/Contact Tracers
The people side of No. 4 is having health monitors and contact tracers to ensure employees themselves, in addition to facilities, are safe. This might include:
- Taking the temperature of every person entering a building.
- Enforcing mask-wearing mandates.
- Sending unwell workers home.
- Meticulous contact tracing should someone test positive.
To do this right requires building modern cloud-native apps capable of tracing contact between extended networks of people. Such apps should also keep records that are linked to building security entrance systems, as well as HR time-and-attendance systems.
For example, if someone from a particular workgroup has been exposed, these professionals help ensure relevant people are notified and work from home for a requisite number of days. Likewise, using automated alerts and emerging tech (like machine learning algorithms) help determine whether it’s safe to come into the office or if remote work is the safest bet.
Looking Forward, Not Back
As companies try to find the right balance of in-person and remote working policies, employees throughout every industry need to acquire new skills. According to PwC, 70% of workers are ready to do this. The pandemic will eventually be put behind us. But the agility and creativity that comes with new opportunities and careers can help enterprises more quickly adapt to crises and keep moving forward.