With no one being safe from the twists and turns that 2020 has thrown at us, there’s not one person in the UK who hasn’t been affected by the impacts of the coronavirus.
And an area that has particularly suffered due to the variety of lockdown restrictions that have been, and continue to be, imposed on us is the job market.
With millions of UK employees forced to work from home or alternatively be placed on the government’s furlough scheme back in April, it’s no wonder that many sectors have experienced detrimental impacts on their business operations.
And when industries are hit hard, it’s always unfortunate when businesses have to make tough decisions and lose some of their valued staff members.
And, according to a recent survey by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), between June and August of this year, at least 1.5 million were labelled as unemployed in the UK [August 2020].
And we’ve unfortunately already begun to notice dramatic fluctuations month on month surrounding recruitment, particularly due to the financial struggles of businesses coping with the government’s ever-changing restrictions.
And redundancies are unfortunately just one small part of the devastation to jobs that the pandemic has created.
The furlough scheme was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic, offering workers who could not work from home, or for businesses who couldn’t afford to keep staff in employment when operations were halted, 80% of their wage, fully paid for by the government.
This was to ensure that businesses kept staff on throughout the pandemic, removing the need to make mass redundancies during this difficult period.
And, although the scheme kept millions of job roles safe throughout the early stages of the virus outbreak, due to the many months that the virus has been impacting business operations, unfortunately not all jobs have been protected in the long term.
More recently, statistics from HM Revenue and Customs have highlighted that the number of people on employee payrolls has dropped dramatically, with 750,000 people already losing their job before the furlough scheme has drawn to a close, even ahead of the second wave of the virus [October 2020].
But, it hasn’t been all doom and gloom, according to the stats.
Experts had expected the younger generation would be the hardest hit, job-wise, by the pandemic, with their lack of experience causing them to struggle to find employment in this competitive market.
But, on a positive note, ONS’ estimates showed that 32.96 million people over 16 and over were in employment between April to June 2020 [August 2020].
Which is 113,000 more people than the year prior, providing promise for this ‘at-risk’ generation.
In relation to sectors, the areas that have experienced a considerable rise in employees were public administration, defence and social security, alongside finance and insurance activities.
Unfortunately, the accommodation and food service sectors were the hardest hit, with numbers declining by 137,000 to just 1.48 million [August 2020].
The employment market in 2020 has also seen growth in the number of full-time workers across the UK.
This year, it was revealed that the number of people in full-time employment increased by 489,000, taking it to a record high of 24.6 million [August 2020].
There have been major changes in 2020 to the part-time market though, with the number of workers in this category decreasing by a record 377,000, where it currently stands at 8.3 million [August 2020].
According to ONS, it was also discovered that the number of self-employed workers has too dropped significantly from the previous quarter, resulting in a record-breaking 238,000 fewer workers [August 2020].
The most recent figures have though, unfortunately, also highlighted some very concerning developments.
Last month, it was revealed by official data sources that the autumn will signal the beginning of further redundancies around the country, with over 700,000 jobs on the line [September 2020].
These ‘at-risk’ jobs are on top of the 240,000 redundancies that were made up until June 2020, making the total redundancy figure just below one million.
With statistics by Statista revealing that around 9.6 million people, from 1.2 million different employers, were furloughed through the Job Retention Scheme in total [20th September 2020], it was up to Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, to ensure that, following the end of the furlough scheme this month, there is additional support in place.
As the coronavirus continues to put business operations on hold in some cases, Sunak this month unveiled the latest scheme to help British workers; The Job Support Scheme.
With the aim to stop mass redundancies, the new scheme has been put in place to continue to top up the wages of workers who are still unable to work full time. This could be due to current restrictions or because of a business’s financial woes.
The scheme itself will provide workers with three quarters of their typical salary for the next six months, with an aim to end the support a full year after the first scheme was put in place.
With the original Job Retention scheme being in place since April, and the new scheme set to kick in at the start of November, the employment figures released are still yet to show the full extent of jobs losses across the country.
This means we can, unfortunately, expect the unemployment rate to rise once again in the autumn after the last month of the original furlough scheme is over, causing catastrophic damage to people’s lives and the UK economy.
And just as the virus itself has had its twist and turns, we’re still expecting the job market to fluctuate as new restrictions are imposed daily, which again brings for a difficult period for the recruitment sector.
Although the future is somewhat of an unknown at the moment, it’s still reassuring for us to see that a number of our clients, across various sectors, are now wanting to restart their recruitment efforts to meet the next batch of talent ahead of the return to the ‘new normal’.
Although there is still a way to go, if you’re looking for your next role, and would like some support from our expert in-house recruiters, please get in touch with us on 0121 796 2474 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.