The world of work and the job market have changed in ways we could never have imagined due to lockdown in the UK. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down massive parts of the UK economy and some industries have been impacted in ways which will be hard to come back from. Our way of living has been impacted significantly and many of us haven’t seen our colleagues or been near our workplaces in months. The situation is even starker for those leaving education, where plans for further study and career options have been put on hold. How is the jobs market holding up considering all the significant changes?
Furlough Halts Business Activity
The UK officially went into “lockdown” all the way back on 23rd March. For many people this meant going to work was no longer possible. The UK government provided the furlough scheme by April 20th, providing people with 80% of their wages if they were unable to work due to the lockdown regulations.
The furlough scheme has been extended to protect jobs and businesses into October, although there are some changes, and figures suggest as many as 8.4 million jobs have been furloughed already since the crisis began,
Unfortunately, alongside the furlough scheme, there has been a significant increase in unemployment. Businesses have had to close their doors permanently and more people have had to apply for benefits support. The Jobcentre saw a 69% increase in claims for jobseeker’s allowance and this is a trend which is something to worry about, although as more businesses open in a new and markedly different way, other job opportunities are bound to arise.
Since June 15th non-essential shops have been able to open in England, with specific measures in place. This has meant the need for more security staff and more shop assistants in many businesses, showing that there are some industries still able to hire and in demand for new employees. The hiring process may alter too but everything does not have to be viewed in a negative light.
Starting a New Job in UK Lockdown
Recruitment businesses have had to look at their processes very differently since lockdown and it has led to some highly creative thinking and new interview techniques. Companies have still needed to recruit new employees throughout lockdown and recruitment companies have still had work to do so new methods to make hiring possible have been necessary and have included:
Tests are common in many sectors to pass onto further stages of an application process. Online testing and assessment is usually quite easy to setup and they can help potential employees prove their acumen further than simply through their CV.
Telephone interviews are not a new phenomenon at all, but they have become more popular in the current climate. Usually, telephone interviews would form just a small part of a full interview process but now, some companies are hiring purely based on CV, application and telephone performance.
While this may feel as nerve-wracking as a face-to-face interview, it can be the best way of getting your full potential across. Panel and face-to-face interviews can be conducted remotely using video software.
Adapting to the Remote World of Work
We are lucky to live in an age where work is still possible, even though our workplaces are closed. Technology has been key to our ability to continue to work and made remote working possible. Many businesses have thrived in this new remote world, whereas others have taken a little bit more time to get used to it. Remote working can be difficult and hard to get used to, although this isn’t always the case.
Research carried out by the American Psychology Association found that employees who could work remotely were happier and more productive, but this was in a world where it was optional. Embracing the remote working necessary to keep our workplace active is the most effective way of ensuring it doesn’t become overwhelming.
The challenging nature of modern living is something we all have to contend with. Finding our own route through the crisis is essential but we can also take advantage of the tools available to us in the form of new technologies and software to support us in our work. What’s more, online learning has seen a massive upsurge in interest as people are taking this time at home as a chance to learn new skills and ready themselves for the changing workplace as things head back to “normal”.