How Long Is the Long Tail?

The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting some industries more than others. Arts, entertainment, recreation, and restaurants are among the hardest hit industries while technology flourishes in a WFH era. This chart, drawing on research by McKinsey and Oxford Economics, a forecasting and quantitative analytics consultancy, shows the COVID-19 impact through another lens: how long it will take for industries to recover to 2019 levels of contribution to GDP.

The analysis uses two scenarios—those deemed most likely to occur—one being “virus contained, slow recovery,” and the other a “virus recurrence, slow long-term growth, muted global recovery” model. Neither of these is considered best nor worst case; rather, somewhere in the range of “most likely to occur.” As of this writing, much of the world seems to be following the virus recurrence and muted recovery scenario.

The time horizon for recovery in the education sector ranges from early 2024 to early 2025, an astonishing and sobering 3.5 years from now. Even if the virus is contained sooner rather than later, the analysts see the “long tail” of effects stretching over at least the next three school years. We believe the long tail will be long indeed (Triangle featured the long tail in its recent webinars on “The Shape of What Comes Next,” and now the McKinsey/Oxford Economics research reinforces the point.

What does this mean for school governors and leaders? We have been writing about the importance of a strategy for your school to emerge from the pandemic stronger, where strength may not be measured in size. This is still very much an imperative, but we also suggest that schools combine an emerge stronger strategy with one to hold the enterprise together as the weeks of last spring that turned into months begin to turn into years. We will be writing more about this in the week ahead.

Business and leadership, Governance, Headship, Strategy  |  permalink

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