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  • Writer's pictureCourt Newkirk

A Time to Pivot or Double-Down?

I’ve been doing some research on labor trends as the pandemic recedes to a more workable level and hopefully after that, it goes away for good. Well the news is looking fairly bright for many of our friends and neighbors, not so good for a lot of people. It depends on which side of the education/training line you’re standing on. According to the McKinsey Global Institute one in every 16 workers will not only have to change jobs, but will have to change careers. Generation Z (those just starting out) will be hit the hardest. Those who previously worked where face to face customer experiences were the bulk of the work will also get hit hard. So who is being spared. Those with advanced skills, training and education, in short most professional jobs have been spared. Most economic and employment forecasts there will be a significant reduction in low wage jobs. If you are thinking, wow I survived the virus but now my job is being attacked, you may be right.

The full report I based this short op-ed piece on is 152 pages long. It took a deep dive into the economies of eight of the largest nations of the world. It is not all doom and gloom, but depending on where you’re going to re-enter the job market, it sure could feel that way.

According to the McKinsey Global Institute report the Covid-19 pandemic forced a tremendous amount of modernization in many, many industries. Restructuring and forced experimentation. Many jobs that were once thought to be impossible to do from home, are now part of new business practices going forward with working from home as a valid system. Careers for highly trained professionals that work in laboratories with very specialized equipment seldom have interactions with outside customers, will in all likelihood remain in the laboratory, but highly skilled workers who have to take their work directly to the customer, may never return to the office. If your physical presence is needed at the job site, you run the highest risk of job displacement, even if the virus is completely defeated. That’s not because of another virus attack, but it’s the fact that companies found other systems, automation, or machinery that can replace a human in the job description. Example: The ticket clerk at the airport used to be a real person, in a lot of terminals, it’s now a machine or a person on a video screen, that’s been going on for years, now it’s only going to accelerate. There is a big push for those former customer service jobs to be done remotely. Your ticket counter may be a desk in your home office with a TV camera and a computer. There are some jobs that will always require a real person to meet with the customer and/or interact with others in a team setting. Those jobs will be there but in far fewer numbers than in pre-pandemic times. So now is the time to plan for an uncertain future. A lot of jobs “slots” may be reopening in the next six months, you just might be doing it from your home office.

So is there any light at the end of the tunnel. Of course there is and those of us who are lucky to live in and around the Okmulgee County area are in the right place at the right time. Luck is spelled: Green Country Technology Center, Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology & The College of the Muscogee Nation. Here are the websites of all three schools. and

Read about their courses, certificated programs and degrees. Dream a little and then contact an enrollment counselor. If there was ever a right time to pivot that time is now. Data from the US Department of Labor analysis by the McKinsey Global Institute: these industries will more than likely always need people in-person and able to work directly with customers. But how that work is done is more than likely going to change...a lot! It’s just a matter of time. Those careers projected to see the most change over time: Medical Care, Personal Care, On-site customer service, Leisure and Travel, Home Support, Indoor Production and warehousing, Corporate offices and headquarters, Schools, conference centers, trucking, Rail and Construction. You’d think there is no way to automate building railroad track, but you’d be wrong.

Pick a Dream, Dream Big and Pivot or Double Down now. Good luck!

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