Is it time to find a higher paying job post COVID-19?

Just prior to the pandemic smashing the economy, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported wage growth had slowed to 2.1 per cent in the March quarter. It is expected to take a further hit in the wake of COVID-19’s economic impact.

To make matters worse, last month Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) governor Phillip Lowe said Australia had already lost 800,000 jobs.

This will be made worse when the $44.7 billion capped Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) takes the knife to the majority of its Target stores.

Wesfarmers is closing or converting up to 167 of its 289 Target stores, with 92 of these stores to become Kmarts.

Notably, Wesfarmers holds an estimated market share of 45% in the Department Stores industry.

Retail has been hit hard, as has travel, tourism and hospitality.

However, it is not all doom and gloom.

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Mr Lowe expressed confidence the economy would “bounce back and recover” if restrictions began to lift by mid-year. With states now re-opening various industries, his prediction that GDP could grow by 6% to 7% in 2021, after shrinking by that amount in 2020, could be on the mark.

So what does this mean for people who have lost their job during COVID-19, or whose wages have stagnated?

It means there are great opportunities for people to change industries, change careers and find higher paying jobs.

Re-set and re-skill

If you have found yourself without work or with less money in your pay cheque, COVID-19 will present plenty of opportunities for people to make their mark in new and emerging industries.

It may take a little bit of reskilling, but if you’re ready, willing and able there will be plenty of prospects.

For instance, the Institute of Data has launched the ‘Airline Industry Retraining’ (AIR) Scholarship Program to retrain workers from the travel and tourism sectors and fast-track them into data and cybersecurity roles.
Those within the industry who have been left unemployed or have been made redundant are eligible for a scholarship of up to 75 per cent off a $17,500 course.

If you are one of the more than 700,000 people employed by the tourism industry (80,000 in the airline industry alone currently affected) and have five years or more experience, you will be eligible to receive scholarships of 50 per cent of the cost of the course. If you have just one year in the industry, you are eligible for 25 per cent off the course.

The course is open to travel agents, marketing and PR professionals and flight staff to name a few.

Charles Darwin University is offering free Certificate-level Business courses to eligible people to help prepare for employment post-COVID-19.

Those eligible include people receiving Centrelink or Veteran Affairs Benefits. And with the government making plans to boost construction of new homes and existing home renovation projects with economic stimulus grants, it's an excellent time to get into the construction industry.

By taking the basic training necessary to obtain a white card, it's possible to get started as a construction tradie. There's no better way to start a new career from the ground up.

TAFEs across the country are offering free courses that could benefit those who are looking to enter sought after industries. Find a course that suits your learning requirements and look into courses such as UX design, cloud computing, machine learning/artificial intelligence, digital marketing, Adobe Suite and video production.

Industries to watch

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has suggested Australia’s technology sector will need an additional 100,000 workers by 2024.

The tech sector is forecast to grow by 2.3 per cent, exceeding the growth forecast for the overall Australian workforce by 1.3 per cent per annum for the next five years.

Cybersecurity and data

Cybersecurity and data professionals will be in high demand.
According to Payscale, these jobs can command salaries of $99,000 to more than $126,000.

Institute of Data executive director Andrew Campbell said, “Data is now the most important asset for every business, and the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted this fact to many businesses.

“As more work is done online, cyber security experts are busier than ever protecting business from the new vulnerabilities associated with remote data access.”

“These are exactly the type of jobs that Australians should be training for right now.”

Plant-based food industry

This industry is experiencing record growth and milestone launches. Why? Well, some say COVID-19 has exposed the links between meat and animal-borne viral illnesses.

The industry was already on a high growth trajectory.

The global plant based meat market was estimated to be worth over US$12 billion in 2019 and is anticipated to grow to $27.9 billion by 2025.

Last year in the US, the demand for plant-based products from the likes of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods led to the creation of more than 55,000 jobs.

Looking specifically at Australia, Australians spend $150 million a year on plant-based products and are expected to spend between $1.4 and $4.6 billion by 2030. The demand is fuelling the growth of the sector which is forecast to generate 6000 full-time jobs and contribute up to $3 billion to the national economy by 2030.

Online Health and wellness

Despite gyms closing during the pandemic, exercise and wellness has been front of many peoples’ minds.

It is likely social distancing rules will remain in place, which means gyms will have to balance restrictions with trying to entice patrons back.

However, it is likely many of those patrons will continue with more accessible and cheaper online programs.

Fitness influencers on social media platforms like Instagram have cottoned onto this trend. So have gym instructors. There is now a proliferation of fitness, health and wellness classes on YouTube and Zoom.

In the US just as lockdown was being implemented, sales of fitness equipment shot up 55 per cent.

The virtual wellness industry is here to stay and for those with qualifications in food preparation, physical activity and more, there are plenty of opportunities to make money.


This update is not financial advice. This article is general news and information.

Home Loans: The comparison rates are based on a secured loan amount of $150,000 and a term of 25 years.

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