The pandemic shifted the way people work, live and socialize, while online tools and social media have boomed. In some cases it has led to the creation of new jobs altogether.
Jobs related to COVID-19 are certainly a development of the past two years, but as we live our lives increasingly online, many of the roles that have popped up are a result of that trend, which shows no signs of going anywhere.
Here are some jobs that would have seemed out of place five years ago, but are now part of our world:
COVID compliance officer
Dan Schlund once gained fame as a rocketeer, doing stunts on-screen, but after suffering an injury he became a medic for film and television production sets. When the pandemic started in 2020, Schlund’s business pivoted: there were suddenly many union rules for working on productions to ensure workers’ safety. Construction sites also needed COVID-19 compliance officers, and life was busy for Texas-based Schlund, he says. While the pandemic brought with it tragedy on a global scale, it has also created some opportunities. “COVID was very good for my business,” Schlund says.
The job of compliance officer on a set involves testing every person on set every three days for COVID-19, taking temperatures, and enforcing social distancing requirements. Schlund says he also has to patrol the different so-called bubbles on set, keeping actors apart from crew and other parts of the production staff.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this job may not be around for long. Rules on production sets have recently been relaxed. COVID compliance officers aren’t necessarily required, and most productions don’t pay for them if they don’t have to. “Lately, it’s dwindled down to where I don’t have as much CCO work as I do medic work,” says Schlund, who estimates that compliance officer jobs in 2022 were only about 25% of what they were in 2021.
Pay range: $20-25 per hour
Online fitness instructor
Five years ago, Selena Watkins was teaching fitness and working as a professional dancer. She toured with Nikki Minaj and was a backup dancer at the SuperBowl with Shakira. She also taught an occasional pop-up class she called Socanomics: a dance-based workout to Caribbean carnival music.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, all of Watkins’ dance gigs suddenly evaporated. She began teaching Socanomics classes on Instagram live immediately, then built a platform and started teaching via Zoom. Watkins finds it amazing to see people taking her classes from London, Chicago and Tennessee, while she teaches from her studio in Los Angeles. “It’s exciting for fitness because the pandemic made it very obvious how much we need to focus on wellness as a holistic term—your physical body, your mental wellness, and how you interact in the world.”
In 2020, the $100 billion fitness industry pivoted hard to virtual trainers and classes, and the global virtual fitness market size was expected to grow from $11.39 billion in 2021 to $16.15 billion in 2022, according to a report by The Business Research Company earlier this year. Even as restrictions on mixing have largely been lifted, Watkins sees opportunity for further innovation in virtual fitness. She would love to see how fitness works in augmented reality—and she’s selling out her in-person retreats with clients from around the world.
Pay range: $40,000 to $72,000 per year
Cryptocurrency asset advisor
The global cryptocurrency asset management market size was valued at $0.67 billion in 2020, and is projected to reach $9.36 billion by 2030. But it comes with huge risks, as the recent implosion of FTX showed. Mia Samson, a financial planner with Gerber Kawasaki in Santa Monica, says she became a Certified Digital Asset Advisor out of a desire to serve clients better. “Throughout the pandemic, crypto gained a lot of popularity,” she says. “It was a space that a lot of us were interested in as investors ourselves, but our clients were coming to us with questions.”
Her firm created a program in order to learn more about planning with digital assets. It’s not significantly different from securities, she says, but there’s a learning curve about how to offer digital asset planning in the safest possible way. Right now, they only offer Bitcoin and Etherium.
“Like any evolving technology, it’s going to take time to get adopted by the masses,” says Samson. “I certainly see a lot of positives associated with it, but there definitely need to be some changes—crypto is evolving so quickly, and legislation is struggling to keep up. Regulatory framework and standards would help to build trust in that space to calm the volatility and help against illegal activity.”
Pay range: $60,000 to $90,000 per year
Influencer MBA Professor
Marketing by social media influencers is big business, expected to be worth an estimated $16.4 billion by the end of this year, doubling since 2019. Even as influencing has exploded as an enterprise, business programs haven’t been teaching that type of marketing. That’s why Mohan Sawhney, a professor at Kellogg School of Management, launched an executive education program around influencing. With applications for regular MBAs dwindling, offering this alternative to traditional programs could be a shrewd move for colleges and universities.
The whole idea of influencer marketing is a strategic relationship between the influencer’s brand and the company’s brand, Sawhney says. “So thinking more strategically about influencer marketing, beyond social media, marketing your transactions, really thinking about how you build and sustain these win-win-win relationships for the customer, the influencer and the company.”
The course started in December of 2021 and offers execs real-world examples of influencer strategies—and how to measure success. Sahney is already monitoring the changing landscape of the influencing industry—from people following mega influencers like the Kardashians or Justin Bieber to micro ones, like someone in your network who knows a lot about running shoes. “You might follow somebody with whom you will have a little personal relationship,” he says, adding that micro influencers tend to interact one-on-one with their network.
Pay range: $57,000 to $184,000 per year
Just as human medicine has increasingly made the leap to virtual visits, so has veterinary medicine. Up to 80% of veterinarians under 40 are women, and they are increasingly wanting to have a flexible schedule and work on their own terms. There’s also a huge shortage of veterinarians in cities, leading to long wait times. That’s something that telemedicine can help with.
Dr. Brian Evans is a veterinarian and clinical director with Dutch, a company that connects pet owners with licensed veterinarians via video chat, with plans starting at $15 a month. The company says it has assisted 25,000 pets since launching in January 2021. Evans says the pandemic really spearheaded the change. “Without it, it might have taken another ten years for people to consider this as an option.”
He says that much of vet work is getting a really detailed history, which can be easily done through a televisit. It also allows him to see an animal relaxed and at home, not panting nervously on a stainless steel table. Telemedicine is never going to replace care in real life, though. “It’s always going to be an adjunct to in-person care, because telemedicine can’t do surgery, can’t palpate or draw blood—all these things that require hands.” But it can ease the burden on vets and patients alike.
Pay range: $70,000 to $80,000 per year