The COVID-19 pandemic changed the economic and social fabric of countries across the globe. People were becoming victims to the virus, with many dealing with job losses, lockdowns, and severe restrictions on social activities.
While the first wave of the virus caught the world off-guard, people have now got accustomed to the new normal and are starting to commence with business and other jobs by switching to a
‘Work from Home’ culture. Although the economic scene is slowly trying to get back on track, Prime Minister Johnson warns that it will be a “long, long way to go” before things can come back to how they once were.
In June 2019, the figures across the UK had indicated that 24,000 jobs were likely to be cut by 345 firms. However, with the progression of the virus, this number kept increasing. British multinational retailer, Debenhams is closing its chain of stores after failing in their last-ditch rescue efforts. With 124 shops stopping trading, this will lead to around 12,000 employees losing their jobs. This news comes right on the back of Arcadia collapsing, which together was expected to lead to about 25,000 job losses. The number of jobs that were lost in the UK since the start of the pandemic are at almost 2 million with many more seriously affected by the changes and havok brought on by the virus.
According to the most recent reports, the second quarter of 2020 saw job vacancies falling by 62.7% – a fall that is likely to take a toll on people and their means of livelihood. There persists a stark gap in figures of this year and that of the last. The number of job postings seen online this year was 77% less than that seen in the previous year thus it is clear that it is going to be a slow process for those looking for jobs in the UK. In July 2020, the UK witnessed an increase of 117% since March in the volume of people claiming universal credit – this is a clear indication of the number of people hit by the economic lockdown. Additionally, self-employment also saw a record low despite the money the government had put in to protect employment.
However, with organisations and companies slowly starting operations once again, some sectors are rolling out job vacancies, but the process of getting in isn’t easy. The competition for the vacancies is quite cutthroat since many people are vying for limited jobs. Additionally, before hiring people, employers, particularly those working in healthcare or with children, usually conduct a background check on people to ensure they know who they take in. To add to an already complicated layer, some people are out of work but not looking to get anything done in the short run since they are waiting for the economy to get better. The main reason is making sure that they do not lose their job or the company shut down right after they started working their new job.
In Scotland, as in many other parts of the United Kingdom, the type of check that the employer conducts depends on the work they are signing up for. A basic check that is usually asked by employers comes up to £23. However, employers can alternatively ask for standard or enhanced checks based on the type of job they are hiring for.
Sectors that were moving faster than the rest on the path to recovery include education, IT, healthcare among several others. Education vacancies are at 88% in comparison to last year while healthcare is touching 92%. Thus, people looking for jobs should be strategic and aim for the sectors that are picking up.
Along with IT and healthcare, delivery companies like Hermes are also helping provide jobs. Due to the new trend of things, people have begun making maximum use of delivery services thus Hermes plans to hire 1500 full-time employees to boost its delivery network and another 9000 staff to work as couriers. Supermarkets are starting to take on more staff although largely temporarily but a few full-time posts have also opened up.
Economists predict that by mid-2021, the unemployment rate should reach its peak at around 7% and may remain there till 2022. Given the prevailing conditions, the best way for job seekers to find new jobs during this difficult time is to keep tabs of recruitment sites or company websites. Networking is also a good way to get your foot in the game. Since most companies are moving to online platforms, it is best to create an online profile that is appealing so that you can stand out from the rest. While you continue to actively approach companies, make sure your CV is tailored to match the requirements of that specific company as this is the only way you will be able to leave a mark on prospective employers.
To prevent the economy from getting into that bad a slump, the UK Government made some additional changes to the system. They allowed some companies and pubs to open their doors to limited customers. The primary purpose was to get companies some income, pushing them on their way to independence. However, if they were not planning on following the rules that were put out by the Government, they would soon be forced to shut. Additionally, the Government implemented the furlough scheme where they were paying the salaries of a large number of employees, to their companies in the UK, so that they could reduce the number of people losing their jobs in the UK.
Those looking for jobs in the UK will have a tough time starting out, but if you plan and research, it is possible to land a job in a sector that is currently growing. One should keep in mind that the effects of the pandemic are not likely to wane so soon, thus it is important to get a clear idea of the job scenario before applying.