How 2020 modified the way in which we work perpetually

In 2017, Professor Robert Kelly, better known as the BBC father, went viral after his kids cut off an on-air interview. Three years later, Kelly is all striving to balance the demands of work and home in 2020.

In particular, Kelly's home work experience reflects the 42% of the US workforce who were able to do their work remotely this year. As a result of this blurring between office life and personal space, work changed dramatically for nearly half of Americans. Look no further than the Zoom video conferencing platform, which grew from 10 million to 300 million participants per day between December 2019 and April 2020.

On the way into a new year with the prospect of a new beginning – and perhaps even a certain normality – many questions remain unanswered as to how and where digital professionals will do their work in 2021. Here are some more precise answers from industry professionals.

Who is hiring? And who is not?

Dana Siomkos, CEO of the recruiting company You & Them, expects continued demand for digital talent in 2021.

"I can't think of a single industry where [digital skills] aren't important right now," she said.

After the pandemic hit, their clients, who are mostly agencies, brands and tech startups, suspended job searches for "almost everything down the line … except digital products and social media," Siomkos said.

That's because "The smart companies were turning very quickly to make sure their digital presence was as strong and meaningful as their personal presence because … that's where they had to engage with their consumers," she added.

Katy Tynan, an analyst at research firm Forrester, agreed that the demand for digital skills will continue.

"The pandemic was generally good for digital talent across the board, especially when companies … needed to improve the ability to do business through technology because they could no longer do business in person," she said.

In particular, Siomkos said she had received many requests for positions in business development over the past few weeks.

"It makes me believe that … like Gangbuster, people want to come out of the gate in 2021 with a strong new business development strategy … to make sure they are up to date, attracting new customers and rejuvenating the business," she added .

With consumers' increased appetite for e-commerce, Anindya Ghose, professor of economics at New York University, identified tech startups as the most essential thing to keep hiring. In particular, she pointed to e-commerce and DTC companies that enable online and mobile sales as strong employment drivers. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Marsten, senior director of strategic marketplace services at performance marketing agency Tinuiti, said she would add to the list any retailer who had a great year in 2020, including Target, Kroger and Home Depot.

Similarly, increasing digital consumption has put additional pressure on marketers to get an ROI. In turn, Juan Pacheco, director of performance at creative agency Mekanism, said performance-based media agencies and technology companies that serve online ads should see an increase in staff numbers.

On the other side of the coin, companies hit by the pandemic, such as brands in the travel industry, will struggle to retain their digital talent.

"I would say that any company in survival mode is at risk of losing its digital talent, even if it really, really, really, really needs it," said Tynan.

While companies in growth mode will be able to attract digital talent because they have the resources for the moment, Tynan wondered if they can keep that talent long term. This is because talent is likely to be wary of companies that may shrink after the pandemic.

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