The Uk Is Slowly Building Up Its Economy, And Are Easing Out On Their Restrictions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives across the world in more ways than one. Many industries found it quite challenging to get through while others managed to stay afloat and adapt to the changing situations. After months of dealing with what is now called the ‘new normal,’ people have begun to realise that there is a noticeable shift taking place in the job market with companies increasingly moving towards a digital-based economy.
Around 24% of the United Kingdom workforce were at risk of losing their jobs or already lost them due to the COVID lockdowns. While these lockdowns helped control the spread of the virus and are keeping the public health crisis in check, they took a massive toll on the economy of the United Kingdom. Several small businesses had to shut down indefinitely or had no choice but to lay people off in large numbers.
In May 2020, two months into the start of the pandemic, the GDP was roughly down by 30%, which is strange since in April only 60% of businesses were functioning, and even those were witnessing major drops in revenue. While it seems fair to assume that economic activity will resume now that the Government is slowly lifting economic restrictions, the pace at which they are planning on making these changes is quite uncertain.
This change in the job market has hit those in the lower-income bracket more than the others. Nearly 50% of those jobs at risk were in the bracket earning less than £10 per hour. While the government is trying to do its part by providing schemes like the furlough among several others to citizens, it is unsure how long they will last. Once they withdraw the support they are providing, they are quite uncertain whether businesses can continue supporting so many staff or will have to let off more employees. The month of April saw about 20% of the working population furloughed. According to McKinsey and Oxford economists, unemployment in the United Kingdom is likely to peak at 9% by February in the coming year.
A survey recently conducted pointed out that 94% of the current workforce did not possess the skills that the new job market would demand – skills necessary to facilitate better e-commerce working and supply chain analytics. Due to the pandemic, jobs such as retail managers, receptionists, waiters, salespeople were at risk as these were usually taken up by part-time workers. Thus, unless companies and employers take it upon themselves to train their workforce into developing skills that are needed for the new normal, it could be possible that two-third of the workforce in the United Kingdom would lack the desired skills by 2030.
Although thousands of jobs were lost during these last couple of months, some companies have already started hiring people. These vacancies that have surfaced are in sectors that could thrive during this pandemic, namely delivery services, healthcare and hygiene products. Although the hiring trend is nowhere close to what it needs to be to reduce the unemployment rates, the nature of jobs that are in high demand has witnessed a massive change. Logistics and home delivery businesses were a godsend to many, not only in terms of the services they were providing but the increase in demand for them led to the opening of new positions and absorbing sections of the unemployed workforce.
E-commerce giant Amazon recently provided 15,000 new positions across the UK to facilitate better delivery and improve its logistics network due to the increasing demand for its services. Similarly, with home shopping picking up as people remain locked at home and unable to move out much, Hermes, a firm that focussed on delivering parcels, has also created about 10,000 jobs to meet the increasing demand. While they are planning on hiring about 1500 full-time staff, they are also taking on about 9000 people as couriers to assist with the supplying of their parcels to people across the United Kingdom. Some supermarket chains have also had to hire more staff due to the increase in the trend of home delivery. However, given the tough competition for jobs likely to be experienced, companies are also turning toward a more stringent process of selection and ensuring proper background checks are done and candidates applying for the vacancies can fulfil all the desired legal requirements.
The background checks and tests that they handle would depend on the people going through the system. Certain job descriptions need specific types of tests, while there are positions within a company that demand something along similar lines as well. When it comes to getting through a background check, multiple agencies can assist with the process, however, some depending on the test, sometimes there is some coordination needed between various other departments, including the police department so that the test can be thorough.
While these industries continue to benefit and grow during this time, the technology sector also has vacancies, waiting to be filled. These include positions for software designers increased by more than 6%, and many have cited that the main reason for this is the lack of skilled professionals.
The job losses and other effects of the pandemic, however, have also brought about negative effects for those who retained their positions. Around 30% of those who have been able to keep their jobs are constantly faced with anxiety due to their health and safety at the workplace. The work from home culture seems to have been adopted by only a small minority of people, roughly 8 million people. With the way the pandemic has impacted the economy of the United Kingdom, according to one of Britain’s best executives, martin Sorrell, it seems like it could take up to 10 years for the economy to fully recover from this hit.