In light of a projected loss in salaries of $51.3 million – according to an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report – due to Hurricane Dorian, professionals are being encouraged to step outside of their pre-Dorian careers to fill the needs that have been presented in rebuilding efforts.
Further, financial commentator Gowon Bowe, who is the chief financial officer of the Fidelity Group, said the focus should be less on how the business community and the government can minimize the projected salary losses.
“In one of our southern Caribbean islands, I remember back in 2004 when they had a major hurricane they said there were lawyers, doctors, accountants becoming contractors because there was so much building. It is saying to persons, how do you look at what is going to be the need in the employment sector, because what you were potentially doing originally may not be available because certain goods and service outputs may not be restored in its immediacy, but there are going to be other elements that may be in need,” he said in an interview with Guardian Business.
“So, this is saying to persons, how do you remain adaptable, how do you remain flexible in what you are prepared to do. This is not the time to say ‘I don’t do that type of work’, because the reality is you may be quite handsomely paid for doing demolition work or debris removal work, because that is what is principally needed.”
The IDB report, which outlined the economic impact of the Category 5 storm – which struck Abaco and Grand Bahama in September – further projected that capital income would decrease $60.9 million. The economy is expected to grow at a slower 0.9 percent pace over the short-term.
“When we start talking about what the impact on the economy will be, if we allow the negative to set our mindset then we will have a negative impact. We must use that as an encouragement to say that we need to reduce this, so that when we do a postmortem a year from now, that actually the decrease in salaries is half of what was projected, because we were able to redeploy people in the areas that make sense,” Bowe said.
“This actually highlights where we have to be mindful of the skills gap and saying that we need to be preparing our work force, not for a fixed job from the day they turn 20 to the day they retire. That they have to be flexible and continually acquiring skills, so that they are able to adapt when difficult times come and there is a change in the need for labor.”