Job role upheavals during COVID-19
by Mattie Stanton/24th-May-2020
The Coronavirus has left a trail of economic devastation in its wake. In the forefront are hundreds of thousands of lost jobs and furloughed workers, due the closure of major businesses, restaurants and pubs. There are interesting role reversals due to the Coronavirus pandemic:
The younger adults who are embracing distancing and isolation are demanding to know about their parents’ social activities. The elderly having greater risk of death than younger patients suffering with the Coronavirus. Mostly, the children are organising the welfare of their elderly parents.
As of this January, women held more positions in the U.S. workforce than men.
In the USA Women make up 91% of nurses, 74% of healthcare workers and almost 62% of pharmaceutical professions. Men are more likely to be minding the welfare of their young children all day during these times. Women are making up the front-line of our work force of our needs during this time
A survey by Prospects, the UK graduate jobs website, found that 28 per cent of graduates have had job offers rescinded or the start date delayed
The future of hopeful graduates such as myself looks uncertain; even picking up a casual summer job seems increasingly unlikely. In some cases, those who have been made redundant or are searching for new jobs have had to explore unusual alternative avenues of work. Throughout the UK there has been an appeal, further endorsed by Prince Charles, for people to apply to become fruit pickers and farm workers. This is primarily due to the fact that many of the seasonal workers who normally travel from Europe to work on English farms and vineyards during the summer have been unable to do to due to travel restrictions. I am one of an unlikely group of people now working across multiple vineyards, brought together due to the unfortunate circumstance that is COVID-19.
Described by the East Anglian Daily Times as the ‘Vine Army,’ the majority of our new group of workers, like myself, have no previous experience working in vineyards. Among us there is a past stockbroker, a marine biologist whose job working as diving instructor in Australia was brought to an early end, a retail assistant, a real estate agent working for a company whose closure also resulted in job losses, to name a few. Everyone in our situation is therefore in need for an alternative solution by which we can earn money.
Applications for alternative funding can be made through government schemes but for many finding other work is a more stable solution. It is an interesting social circumstance, an unlikely crowd which is proving to be highly functional despite the inexperience. I can speak for all of us when I say that this is not a scenario that we ever thought we would land in, but here we are. It proves that even those from totally differing backgrounds and specialities can work effectively as a unit, a recognition of the fact that we are all inherently able and willing to form a cohesive unit in trying times.
To quote our vineyard manager, ‘Everyone is really working well and really keen and really enjoying it actually.’ He further states that ‘It’s phenomenal really, I sensed we would get quite a few people, but not to the numbers we have, I must admit.’
Furthermore, there is a newfound respect for those who occupy jobs which fall under the category of societies ‘Key Workers.’ Finding a job within a supermarket chain has never been more competitive, as goes for delivery drivers, healthcare workers and the entirety of the NHS. Jobs roles which may have previously been taken for granted have now proven be essential in a time of crisis, demonstrating that when everyday life has to be cut back to basics, it is these key workers who we ultimately fall back on for our most fundamental human needs.
Aside from the obvious changes in the way we work (mainly online), there is little doubt that the occurrence of a global pandemic will change the way we work for the foreseeable future.
The realisation that many tasks can be completed from home may decrease the essentiality of office spaces – perhaps reducing congestion and therefore pollution levels, however this is counteracted by the potential of an increase in everyday household energy usage if people stay at home throughout the day.
Housing may become more affordable if people decide that living in the middle of a city is no longer necessary, yet the Coronavirus may break up pre-existing communication chains in sociable workspaces which contribute to a company’s productivity.
There are many positive and negative factors which can be divulged from the work from home scenario – however the apparent ease of the transition could be deemed as remarkable.