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Specific Job Markets That Grew Amidst COVID-19

Job market growth amidst the covid19 pandemic

The job market in Canada as a whole — and the availability of jobs in Vancouver, specifically — has experienced modest growth since July that is expected to continue, albeit slowly, through the end of 2020 [1].

The continued recovery of both the nationwide and provincial job market relies on job creation. This activity is presently greatest among firms that have been able to:

  1. Pivot to online-first (and even online-only) business models;
  2. Diversify service/product offerings; and
  3. Build sufficient flexibility into both inventory and operations to enable rapid response to shifts in consumer preferences.

Markets That Thrived and Grew Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic

1. Online Sales & Services

Year-over-year since 2019, e-commerce/online retail in Canada has more than doubled while in-store sales dropped as much as 84.2%. Likewise, demand for niche digital services — like online gaming access — has nearly doubled. Online entertainment firms (like Netflix and Disney+), online professional services (like Zoom), and online personal services (like grocery delivery) have all also experienced dramatic increases in overall sales volume.

Given the widespread implementation of stay-at-home and self-isolation orders as the pandemic has developed, this comes as no surprise.

2. The Home & Garden Industry

As self-isolation and quarantine orders have kept people at home, home renovation companies have experienced significant increases in demand. As a result, DIY home improvement stores in Canada have weathered the economic downturn remarkably well. For example, between May to July, Home Depot reported a 23% increase in revenue over the same period in 2019.

Nevertheless, growth within the home and garden industry has been restricted to online sales channels. Online sales for building and DIY materials and furniture — the staples of many home improvement projects — are approximately 625% greater than this time last year. Yet these same sectors saw decreases of 15.8% and 69.6%, respectively, in-store.

For Home Depot, this has meant a more than 100% increase in online purchases with 60% of digital sales fulfilled in-store and made available for pickup or final-mile delivery.

3. Diversified Online Fitness Firms

The fitness industry was particularly hard-hit at the outset of the pandemic.

Pre-pandemic, direct services (like fitness coaching, yoga/spin classes, and gyms) drove the fitness-related job market, leaving little room for niche sectors. Yet with market-leading providers unable to continue business-as-usual, historically “luxury” virtual fitness sectors have boomed; fitness-related job search drivers now include virtual fitness coaching, at-home personal training, and fitness app-related jobs.

For example, consumer demand for virtual fitness classes/apps, wearable fitness technology, at-home fitness equipment, and vitamins/supplements have all experienced considerable increases in sales. It follows that virtual fitness coaching firms that diversify into supplement and equipment retail, like Tone It Up, should thrive. Tone It Up, specifically, experienced a nearly 1000% increase in sales/service adoption during just the first few months of the outbreak.

4. Adaptive Firms In The Beauty Industry

Beauty consumers in Canada are demonstrating a significant tendency toward two niche beauty sectors — “clean” personal care and self-care/wellness — especially online-first brands/providers. As a result, the overall industry has seen an increase in sales (by up to 37%) and referrals (by about 64%) despite brick-and-mortar closures. Clean beauty continues to do remarkably well, while sales of self-care products have grown up to 32%.

Consequently, the availability of beauty industry jobs in Vancouver during the pandemic depends on companies’ ability to adapt to these new consumer preferences. Highly effective adaptations include:

  • Providing safety-first, clean (and, when possible, virtual) services; and
  • Creating/expanding online inventories of clean beauty and self-care products.

For example, Lush Cosmetics — already a market-leader in clean- and wellness-type products — has rapidly expanded its online service capabilities. This has boosted sales/service volume so far as to surpass manufacturing/provision capabilities.



About BC Jobs is Western Canada’s largest job board. For nearly 20 years, BC Jobs has connected job candidates with companies looking to add talent to their team. To support our candidates, we recently launched a podcast to help you stand out during your job application. Listen to weekly episodes on our podcast to hear what recruiters are thinking and what companies look for when considering their next hire. We also host free virtual events to support candidates, such as #HireMe2020, a series of live guest speaker events with all-star speakers from the top employers in BC and across Canada. Email to find out more.

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