Thriving? Surviving? COVID-19 impact on industry sectors (3)

Reliable predictions are not available to any of us right now but following our post back in March, we wanted to bring you the latest insights we’ve gleaned across a range of sectors to help you understand the context in which you are planning your future. LinkedIn are monitoring the effects on job postings in the UK and split industries into 3 categories; “responding”, “weathering” and “adversely impacted”. We’ve used these headings to show how different sectors have been affected in different ways.  

We’ve already looked at those “weathering” and “adversely impacted”. Today, writes Alison Parkinson, Employer Engagement Adviser, we’ll look at the sectors which seem to be “responding” well.

Health Care/Public Services 

As you would guess, the Healthcare sector is holding up well, treating patients and meeting the needs for new equipment. A recent NESA report “There will be no back to normal” concluded that “We will see greater emphasis and state support for key national industries”. We’ve already seen that in the UK with e.g. the temporary nationalisation of rail services and the Treasury announcing an emergency response fund of £14bn for healthcare and public services.  The crisis has illustrated how much society needs people who help others and, although it is hard to say what the labour market for health/public services will look like in the future the crisis has certainly made it less susceptible to cutbacks. 

Life Sciences/Pharmaceuticals 

Healthcare, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology companies are prioritising any COVID-19 related activity; developing vaccines, treatments and diagnostics, investigating the epidemiology and increasing global understanding of the virus. LinkedIn data suggests roles with medical device and pharmaceutical companies growing. Not surprising then that in our conversations with employers, this is a sector that seems to have seen minimal impact in terms of current and anticipated graduate recruitment numbers. “In terms of graduate recruitment it is very much business as usual for us” Early Careers Manager, Large pharmaceutical company.  


Many tech roles can be carried out remotely (e.g. software developers, QA testers and data scientists) so there has been less furloughing of staff compared to other sectors.  In the short term there has been a boost to hardware and networking hiring to support the shift to remote working. In the longer term “As more and more of people’s lives move online, the jobs of cyber security specialists and data protection officers are likely to be of increasing importance”  Target Jobs “How are different industries adapting to the pandemic” . Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another tech sector “predicted to surge during the pandemic, not least by directly combating COVID-19 through medical research. In most cases, with an emphasis on reducing human interaction and social distancing, businesses will likely be turning to AI solutions for their product designs” NewElectronics, April 2020. Results from ⁦‪a Technology Industry survey carried out by ScotlandIS shows a third of respondents believe business opportunities will rise due to increased demands related to Covid-19, particularly in cloud services, digital connectivity, and digital health solutions. All good news given roles in tech and with tech companies are not just for those with a relevant degree 

Supermarkets and food production 

It is estimated that 70,000 extra jobs have been or are planned to be created by UK supermarkets to cope with the increased demand. (Individual companies/Forbes)  

Food retail/production is one of the sectors that has roles that may not be obviously graduate level but will develop skills that all employers want to see. Our blog last month has some suggestions for part-time work in these sectors. e.g. roles that support the NHS, care sector, logistics/distribution, food and pharmaceutical infrastructure. 


Thank you for reading this series of posts. We’ll bring you more news, information and advice over the coming months, here and in our FAQs and regular updates



(Image by kmicican on Pixabay)


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