The COVID-19 pandemic might have been the most disruptive time of our lives. The entire world succumbed to the disease, and the economy was brought to its knees. There were lockdowns everywhere, and ports had to be closed down. Many parts of the economy had to come to a complete halt. So, things aren’t the same as the world comes out of the health crisis. The job market and availability of jobs might be some of the most significant changes.
Most companies shifted to decentralized recruitment and digital interviews. So, even the process of getting a job had to be changed. Moreover, as the whole world moved to remote work, some redundancies also developed. What were once regular jobs, had no space in the market anymore. The speed with which the world took up digitalization has affected many jobs. The pandemic not only changed the way we lived, but it also changed how we earned a living.
The Global Effects of the Pandemic
We can’t compare the current job crisis with the 2008 global recession. Back then, the economy was still running, but the stock markets were slow. But now, some parts of the economy were not running at all. The global crisis meant that businesses had to come to a complete halt for some time. So, before we could figure out how to live with the new normal, things were looking bleak.
Later, the world improvised, and things shifted to digital and online means. This meant that most businesses could resume without any risks. But it also meant that the world accelerated its digitization by at least three to four years. So, the leap of adoption to digital technology created many redundancies in the market.
There were many jobs that technology took over. For example, there was no need for a cashier anymore as supermarkets were closed. Moreover, other retail jobs also suffered because of the quick increase in online shopping. We might call it modern-day Darwin’s natural selection, but the change was too fast to grasp. The world was in no way ready for this, and the effects could still be evident for another decade.
The Job Market
As technology created redundancies all over the world, people lost their jobs. Countries like the UK had a furlough scheme that helped many people, though. So, the government-funded package saved some jobs for some time. However, if you weren’t one of the essential workers, you probably lost your job. Many corporations removed a list of workers from their employment. Many others didn’t get full salaries or forcibly took a pay cut.
So, the pandemic might have made many jobs redundant. But it also created some jobs in the technology sector. The only factor of the economy that saw rapid growth was technology. Because almost all businesses had to take on at least one form of digitalization. So, jobs in tech became available all over the world.
Moreover, people who could adapt quickly to change were also able to keep their jobs. Technology was a massive change for the baby boomer generation. So, they also had to learn and unlearn to survive in this tumbling economy. So, the people who grew and improvised according to the situation were better off than others.
The Need for a New Social Contract
The social contract theory might be as old as philosophy itself. It means the agreement between the rulers and the ruled. So, it is the basis of the formation of any government in the world. It can also include the sacrifices the masses have to make for the greater good of the state. So, individual sacrifices can be a major part of the growth and development of the government. Many people say that the changes brought on by the pandemic demand a new social contract.
The neoliberal economic model isn’t viable anymore. It might be the biggest reason behind the massive income inequality, debt, and labor market exploitation. The pandemic was only able to elaborate on the problems that already existed. So, what will the new social contract mean for the people?
Strengthening Public Services
The most important thing right now could be to have a social contract with a moral compass and purpose. So, we should start with strengthening the public services for the greater good. In any country, if the public sector is stronger than the private sector, the economy flourishes. So, focusing on the foundational economy and basic human necessities might be the best for us.
Creating Green Jobs
We need to focus on the alarming rate of climate change as well. During the pandemic, human carbon emissions were at a record low. So, the earth’s atmosphere took a much-needed break. So, we should focus on creating green jobs that are sustainable over the far future. We need to set long-term goals if we want a better environment for our future generations. So, all new jobs should focus on cutting carbon emissions and be more environmentally aware.
Being Socially Productive
We all need to cut out jobs that don’t add anything to the social upbringing of our society. So, more socially responsible and productive decisions have to be made. For example, jobs like public relations or telemarketing might have to take a backseat. Instead, we might need more people in child services, family law, or medicine.
Guaranteeing Right to Employment
We need to redefine the job market, but everyone looking for employment should have a right to it. We can make this possible through government-funded guarantee schemes. So, anyone can get a job that pays at least minimum living wage. The local government can take up the funding and administration of the plan so it reaches the right people.
Shortening Work Weeks
The pandemic has made us realize that a 9-5 job, five days a week, isn’t the only way to be productive. In fact, shorter workweeks and flexible hours could be optimum. Our talent acquisition strategy needs to have ample room for flexibility. So, we can focus on changing work hours and timings to help introduce a work-life balance. As many people spent more time with family during the lockdown, they were generally happier with their lives.