Impact of COVID on Careers

The COVID pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our lives, especially our careers. In fact, it has dramatically upended the international job market in many important ways.


According to the World Economic Forum, these are the most significant changes that have occurred due to the pandemic:

  • Long-term unemployed workers are struggling to find work. Many jobs were lost due to lockdowns, and the longer someone stays out of work, the harder it is to get back into the job market.
  • Unemployment is higher now than in 2019. The good news though is that it has dropped since 2020.
  • The youth employment gap is growing. People aged 15-24 have experienced the greatest loss of job opportunities. This gap could last for years.
  • Not everyone can work remotely. 
  • The pandemic has put millions out of work.

Self-Employment/Great Resignation:

You may have heard of the "Great Resignation" that has occurred due to workers reconsidering their work lives. In fact, in November and December of 2021, 3% of employees quit their jobs (according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis). Many of these employees became self-employed. These are the industries that are attracting the greatest number of self-employed workers (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis):

  • Construction
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
  • Other Services (except Public Administration)
  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
  • Transportation and Warehousing

Unfilled Job Openings:

Ironically, there are also many UNFILLED jobs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce finds that the biggest issue facing the economy right now is the worker shortage. In fact, it has been labeled a crisis.


How do we interpret all of the above changes in our job market? It might be the best time to reconsider one's career choices as everything is already in flux. An unemployed worker can consider training for the fields that have unfilled job openings. Self-employment and remote work are other options. 

Instead of looking at this pandemic employment upheaval in negative terms, we can search for the silver lining and take the opportunity to aim for true career fulfillment.



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