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The best post-lockdown job is?

1 April 2020

There can be no doubt that a lot of folk will be looking for new jobs when the lockdown and coronavirus crisis is over.

Tourism is one of our largest industries, employing a pretty sizeable number of Kiwis and it will be one of the hardest hit for the longest time. What will all those hard-working Kiwis do for a living while their career or job is in stasis?

Virtually every other profession, trade and job will also be hammered by a massive lack of demand and shortage of money in the wake of this pandemic.

In short, there'll be very low levels of demand because nobody will have any money and without demand, there will be extremely high levels of unemployment for quite some time to come.

Let's also not make the mistake of thinking that export earnings will see us through the next year or two -- because they won't. Our key markets are likely to be even more affected by this economic hit than our own domestic economy.

We are headed for austere times -- so what will be the best job to have in the coming year or two?

The government has said that it will invest heavily in public works as a way of soaking up an otherwise unused labour force and so as to put money back into the domestic economy.

This would seem to suggest that civil engineers and worksite labourers could be in demand -- if that's your bag.

Indeed, a job in employ of government could be just about the only option, aside from the dole, for a great many Kiwis in the year or two to come.

But what about the private sector? Where will the jobs be and if you were planning a career change, what direction would be the best one to take?

Well to be honest, I have no idea (situation normal) so I am throwing this one to the floor for discussion and suggestions.

I wouldn't expect much from our primary sectors, given the depressed international demand for those goods and the limited size of our domestic market. Some of our biggest primary operations, such as dairy, have also become incredibly automated in recent times, requiring far less labour than used to be the case.

Perhaps medical services will remain in strong demand but the only issue there is that you can't become a doctor overnight. If you started training tomorrow then it's almost certain that the world would be largely back to normal by the time you qualified.

One area that has seemed absolutely resilient in recent weeks is that of "checkout operator".

Yes, it seems that good checkout operators are still in high demand and have even received an increase in pay. Could *this* be the career of the future for all those apsiring towards having a job that is safe from pandemic?

I can tell you now that being a YouTube content creator is looking increasingly dubious by the day. Not only are views down (which is surprising) but earnings (based on a share of ad revenues) are now but a tiny fraction of what they were a couple of months ago. It's looking as if even I would now qualify for the government's handouts if I chose to accept them.

If you're engaged in tech-based employment you won't be immune to the downturn. As an example of this I noticed that OneWeb, the competitor to Elon Musk's StarLink LEO satellite network has filed for bankruptcy, citing the effects of the pandemic as the key reason. This was a company with US$3 billion in funding!

Of course the real entrepreneurs out there will have a field day in the weeks, months and years to come. Here are just some of the potential gold-mines waiting to be excavated:

  • buying up camper-vans for cents on the dollar for later resale
  • buying up mortgagee sale properties at a huge discount for later resale
  • lending cash to the poor at exhorbitant rates of interest
  • offering government-funded/subsidised retraining services

(Although option three has always been an opportunity exploited by the unscrupulous).

The Aardvark community has some of the keenest minds in the country so how about you all put your thinking caps on and tell the rest of us where you'd be investing your time and efforts over the next year or three -- if making a small (or large) fortune was your objective.

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