Coronavirus-Related Jobs Are Percolating

The unemployment rate peaked at 25% during the Great Depression. Decades later, the United States may soon be facing 20% unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That we might be on the precipice of the Great Depression 2.0 is…well…depressing.

That’s the bad news. Here’s the less-bad news. (“Good news” would be an overstatement.) Our current crisis is also spurring hiring in some areas. Perhaps you’ve already heard that Amazon is adding 100,000 new jobs in warehouses due to increased shopping demand. Meanwhile, Safeway announced that it’s hiring more in-store workers and delivery drivers at many of its supermarkets. Indeed, job postings related to food delivery have risen 78% from 2017, and for transportation and storage 36%, according to ZipRecruiter.

None of which is to imply that the overall hiring picture looks anything but terrible. There’s no doubt that many industries are beginning to suffer widespread devastation. However, it will be interesting to see how the ongoing pandemic impacts certain pockets of the economy.

One resource to track jobs related to the virus comes from the software provider HiringSolved. The company’s Coronavirus Job Postings site tracks coronavirus-related posts on a daily basis. It further allows you to view trends by job category, location, company, and job title. Some present findings include:

  • Half of all new virus-related posts are in health care, while one-quarter are in sales
  • California leads the country in postings, while New York City has more posts than any other city
  • The most common job title is “Universal Worker” (typically means someone who provides support to residents in healthcare facilities)

Notably, some of the most common jobs are in the security space. For example, “Coronavirus Armed Response Officer” is currently the fifth most common virus-related posting. What does such a position look like? Basically, it often looks like your standard security-officer post. At Concord, NC-based Strategic Security Corp, the post for this position lists job duties that are fairly generic for this type of work — “coronavirus” appears in the title only.

Which begs the question: Could it be that some employers are using coronavirus to market their jobs?

The answer is not clear at this point, but as the crisis deepens, it will be interesting to gauge whether more virus-related jobs appear and what those posts look like.

Vadim Liberman is editor of ERE.net and TLNT (the devil wears TJ Maxx) — a workplace renegade advancing how we think, work, and live. He has previously worked as a strategy consultant to HR and recruiting tech companies at The Starr Conspiracy, as a talent management professional at Prudential, and as senior editor of The Conference Board Review, a magazine for business leaders. Vadim loves to talk about all things HR, talent acquisition, and Bravo TV shows. Bring it!

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