Covid-19 and sectors
What does this mean for businesses and organisations that employ people exposed to different levels of social distancing risk?
Employing a high share of people exposed to such risk means it is very likely that key business or organizational activities will be severely disrupted. For example, while an accounting clerk in a restaurant has a very low exposure risk as compared to a waiter, disruption of the main activity of the restaurant represents a danger for both employees, who may experience reduced pay or even be laid off if the establishment shuts down.
Therefore, in our analysis we also examine the employment structure across European economic sectors. We assess the risk or resilience of sectors by looking at share of people with high and low social distancing risk employed within a sector.
We calculate the risk score of a sector as the difference between the number of people employed in occupations that have high or very high social distancing risk and those with low or no social distancing risk.
Figure 3: Sectors and social distancing risk (workers’ groups in % share on total employment within a sector)
Source: Skills OVATE and EU-LFS 2018, own calculations
“ICT services”, “Energy supply services”, “Professional services” and “Financial services” are ranked as sectors with the lowest risk of disruption in their activities as they mostly rely on workforce that is capable of working remotely and with little reliance on personal social interaction. In these sectors, the employment share in “resilient occupations” is at least 25 p.p. higher than in “risk occupations”. High share of digitalisation of these sectors is their main shield against any highly disruptive effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Accommodation and food”, “Wholesale & retail trade”, “Arts & recreation”, “Transport & storage” and “Construction” are sectors with the highest risk of disruption by social distancing measures. In these sectors, the employment share in “risk occupations” is at least 25 p.p. higher than in “resilient occupations”.