Remaining Relevant In A Recession

Practical advice and uplifting insights from Catherine Allen (Founder and Chairman of The Santa Fe Group) and Ceree Eberly (Chair, Gartner Global Chief Human Resources Board and former SVP and CHRO, Coca-Cola) on continuing education and job change in the time of COVID-19. With a potential recession in the near future, these two leaders reflect on occupations and job prospects that can better withstand the risk of layoffs.





For many, they may be working in industries where business has declined dramatically, such as brick and mortar retail, restaurants, spas, art and entertainment, to name a few.  For some industries, business is accelerating, such as certain essential retail (i.e. grocery), health care , remote work technology, etc.  If you are being impacted, It is important to focus on what transferable skills you have that can be applied to other types of jobs and industries that are accelerating hiring and job opportunities.   A recent Gartner survey of L&D professionals in early April shows that 50% to 60% of their workforce is having to use new skills.  Many companies working together to do ‘talent sharing’–hiring impacted employees from other organizations as their hiring needs increase, and doing it rapidly.   Things to consider are companies that are offering competitive pay and benefits, paid leave and flexible work arrangements.



Jobs in travel, tourism, airlines, non-essential retail, spas, restaurants, construction, interior design, real estate, event planning, physical sales and other non-essential areas will likely be slow to return to full employment. Recent Gartner research indicates that jobs in sales and business development had lower declines over the last month.



Jobs in risk management, cyber security, compliance, IT, online on demand, virtual programming, healthcare and medical devices/technology, some retail, services, supply chain and logistics will continue to grow. Not all require college educations. Repair and renovation services will be needed.  Educational institutions are offering stackable degrees and certificates and certification demand will grow. The top two skills that are critical moving ahead are learning agility and broader business skills (collaboration, critical thinking, communication, problem solving, working with teams).  Those should apply to any vocation, job or field of study, for future consideration.



Honestly we don’t know yet the longer term impact on hiring and jobs in our economy.  However, people should think conservatively for the next 2-3 years about the approach to the job market and focus on  what skills they are building, what experiences they are gaining, and what they want to achieve beyond the next several years.  Now is the time to make best of what you are doing but spend time learning, getting degrees, certificates, certifications to be ready for when the economy returns to robust health.



Yes!  Do whatever you can to bring in money to cover costs and prepare for a longer recovery, but also do internships, volunteer in areas of interests and to gain skills. We all are independent agents in the end and need to plan on working longer, working better and doing what we like to do and invest in continuous learning to become agile learners.



There is a huge opportunity for innovation in all things ‘work’–what we do, how we do it, where we do it, how we define it, potentially creating new jobs and industries that never existed before. There is much we can learn…embrace this event to learn and reinvent and be ready for the nest chapter of your life.  And, decide how you want to live your life moving ahead by focusing on those things that matter the most.  It is about the job and career, but it is also our families, our communities, making everyone stronger by working together for the common good of all.  Everyone is becoming technology proficient on virtual platforms.  Gartner research is finding 86% of companies are moving learning and training to on-line platforms–this will continue as a trend for the future so do what you can to become savvy with on line technology, remote meetings and remote learning.  It’s here to stay.