Coronavirus is our chance to craft a fairer jobs market

For businesses, there are a number of strategic implications. Those whose sales and operations span the entire country, or several customer segments, will need to reimagine products and sales offerings to match the large-scale shifts in consumer incomes, attitudes and behaviours.

At the same time, the highly different effects on local labour markets and specific occupational categories may create opportunities for companies to reconfigure their talent base – for example, by locking in flexible ways of working and productivity, reskilling employees, and hiring in the newly unemployed.

A glance at history reminds us that rapid economic and social disruptions, and increases in inequality, have tended to result in rising discontent.

Leaders across business, government, education and society will need to form new partnerships and redouble efforts to mitigate this trend.

We also need to look ahead to the “next normal” and reimagine the world of work, finding opportunities to improve productivity, inspire talent and create higher-quality jobs.

Dame Vivian Hunt is the managing partner of McKinsey & Company’s UK and Ireland offices, and co-author of the McKinsey report “Covid-19 in the UK: Assessing Jobs at Risk and the Impact on People and Places”

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