The economic “winners” of the pandemic, such as essential industries and the digital sector, continue looking for employees despite the public health crisis.
“One can hardly speak of mass unemployment in 2020 in Morocco,” assured Mehdi Lahlou, a Moroccan economist, in an interview on April 25. “After the period of confinement, activities will resume, including the informal sector.”
Morocco cannot confirm Lahlou’s words before May 20, the official end to its lockdown, yet positive signs for employees exist. Some businesses, especially those deemed “essential” for the country’s functioning, continue hiring despite the economic crisis.
In March 2020, Morocco’s unemployment rate stood at 10.5%. This marked an increase from 9.1% during the same period in 2019. The number of the unemployed has undoubtedly increased since March 20 when the country entered a lockdown, especially given that one-fourth, or 2.5 million Moroccans normally find employment in the now-halted tourism industry.
Recruitment dropped at the beginning of the lockdown, but now, almost two months in, some sectors continue hiring despite the crisis. Some businesses in Morocco are looking for employees because they are less affected than others and are able to continue “business as usual.” Some companies are even experiencing a crisis-induced boom.
Those industries on the “frontline” of the health crisis, such as food production, medical equipment supply, and pharmaceuticals, have the greatest recruitment needs. The well-being of these industries reflects in the government’s decision to exclude them from the exceptional financial measures provided in law 25.20 to support Morocco’s struggling businesses amid the outbreak’s economic shocks.
Another undeniable “winner” of the COVID-19 pandemic is the technology sector. Digital marketing and information technology professionals, except for those working in telecom networks, can be quite secure about their employment. The public sphere has moved to the world wide web, now digitally conducting cultural, educational, governmental, and entertainment activities.
The world will emerge from the pandemic with more robust technical infrastructure than before, and businesses and employees alike will need to digitize their competencies to remain competitive on the job market.
The companies that require physical space to carry out their business activities are finding the adaptation to a more digitized world difficult, and are subsequently experiencing losses. Those hit the hardest are in the construction industry, non-essential production, and the tourism sector, said Youssef El Hammal, the CEO of labor market integration start-up YM Africa.
The struggling business sectors will try strategies to mitigate their financial losses, which will almost certainly include austerity measures such as job reduction. This means finding employment in these sectors may be extremely difficult during and directly after the crisis.
At the same time, economists are confident the industries will fight hard to bounce back, and in this foresee a quick post-pandemic recovery.