With headlines such as ‘Years of UK jobs growth wiped out by coronavirus’, it’s no surprise that employers and candidates are feeling nervous about the current state of the job market and recruitment. However, this doesn’t paint the full picture. The media has a flair for sensationalism, and they tend to focus on the problems without considering the bigger picture or the nuances within something as big as the ‘job market’.
No sugar coating
It would be naïve to say that coronavirus and its resulting lockdown haven’t and won’t impact the London jobs market and recruitment. We’ve seen this from other notable downturns, such as the 2008 recession. However, as a PA recruitment agency with our ear to the ground, it’s not all bad news.
Unique solutions in unique times
The UK government recognised that it would be devastating if the business difficulties brought about by coronavirus weren’t addressed, and realising the temporary nature of the current situation, they introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and suddenly, the word “furlough” was a regular in everybody’s vocabulary. The good news is that rather than millions of people losing their jobs, many have merely found their job on pause. If the majority of businesses resume their usual activities following lockdown, these employees will go on to fuel recovery and growth.
Our head start compared to others
Secondly, it’s good to recognise that the UK was in a considerably stronger position than many economies before the current situation. There was an incredibly low unemployment rate of 3.8%, and employment hit record highs in January 2020, just before the outbreak hit the UK. If we compare this with other hard-hit countries, it’s shows a very different starting point. Italy had an unemployment rate of 9.8% at the beginning of the year. France had an 8.1% rate and Spain 13.8%. In essence, we were in a stronger position to take the hit.
The complete picture
Finally, the impact of coronavirus and lockdown hasn’t been uniform across all sectors and all industries. How each sector, industry, and individual business has responded was varied too. If we look at Zoom, it has seen its share price ‘zoom’ by 41% since the 16th February.
While most London businesses aren’t like Zoom, we’re seeing pockets of success and thriving businesses in certain areas. For example, we’ve seen an increase at our PA recruitment agency in virtual ‘office’ support jobs and VAs. These skills are needed in even greater numbers than before, and employers are calling on virtual staff to help them navigate unchartered waters.
See beyond the headlines
For employers who are managing to find a route through the current situation and view it as a temporary blip, try not to be pulled down by the negativity around you. Of course there needs to be realism, but there needs to be optimism too. And if you look in the right places, there’s plenty to be found.
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