Between April and June this year, 220,000 workers lost their jobs – the biggest quarterly drop in employment since May – July 2009, during the peak of the recession. Many people have been let go due to company cutbacks, whilst some businesses have folded all together and left their employees out of work. The office of national statistics have found that the majority of those affected are young or older workers, and many of them are in manual jobs.
As the furlough scheme comes to an end in October, the fear is that many more job losses will follow: although restaurants and shops are now open to the public again, many have struggled through the past six months. Currently the government are helping by paying 80% of workers for those kept on under the furlough scheme, but when this ends many will have no choice but to let people go.
One of the biggest concerns is that the lack of job openings means that those who have been made redundant could struggle to step into another role. If this applies to you then take some comfort in the fact that it doesn’t reflect on you or your work ethic: the circumstances of the past year have made this the sad but inevitable outcome for many companies.
If you are out of work and struggling to come up with options, then you may want to consider a change of direction in your career. While businesses within the hospitality, travel and tourism and traditional retail sectors are struggling, there are many other industries currently booming. Online deliveries and takeout services have never been more popular, meaning that there is often work available for roles such as delivery drivers or within packing warehouses.
These are relatively unskilled positions that many people can step into without the need for extensive training or experience. However, if you have a savings cushion that will allow you to spend some time and money retraining then you may want to consider retraining. Public sector roles – for instance jobs within the NHS, the police force or as a teacher – are likely to be more readily available, and you can often get a bursary to help meet the costs of training. Depending on your academic background, you may also be able to take on the job training, getting paid to earn while you learn.
This does mean putting a large time commitment in: potentially several years. That means it’s important to think carefully about what you want long-term before making any big decisions. If you’re just looking for work to tide you over until your industry bounces back then it would make more sense to step into a temporary role than to spend significant time and effort learning something new.
However, if you already felt bored or stuck in your old role then this could be a great opportunity for a new challenge. Look into education bursaries and apprenticeship schemes to start sketching out a new career map.