​The government have announced this week that the UK is now officially in recession, the last recession we saw was back in 2009. This has been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and during April – June this year the economy shrunk 20.4% compared to the first quarter of the year. This is a massive decrease, which was affected by the closure of retail, travel, hospitality, manufacturing and other services during lockdown.

In addition to that, schools and childcare facilities have also been closed which has caused significant concerns for many working parents, who had no childcare provision during this time and were juggling working alongside home schooling, with little certainly about when schools would reopen.

How could this affect you?

Between April and June this year, the number of people in work in the UK fell by 220,000. This is despite the support given by the furlough scheme. There are predictions of further job losses when the scheme ends in October, with some estimations predicting one in three employers planning to reduce headcount by the end of September.

On a positive note, around 49% of employers surveyed expect to take on new staff in the next three months, however this is unlikely to be enough to offset the scale of the redundancies, and competition for jobs is likely to be much higher, with many more applications for each role.

If you are looking for work….

Top tips for job searchers during this difficult period include:

• Be proactive in your job search – use your connections and actively approach organisations
• Make sure your CV, Cover Letter and LinkedIn profile are up to date and ready to apply for roles
• Tailor your documents to each role you apply for – see our previous blogs for tips on how to do this
• Prepare for interview – do your research to stay ahead of the competition and sell your skills and experience to future employers
• Stay positive – although this can be a difficult period, things will improve, and you will find a role
• Consider how your skillset can be applied to other areas or roles – you may have transferrable skills suitable for positions you haven’t considered before
• During redundancy, use the time to increase your skills, undertake training courses or carry out voluntary or community work – this all looks good on your CV
• Seek help if you need it – whether this is regarding finances, mental health, job seeking or other areas – look after yourself so you are in the best position to look for work

What does the future look like?

The Bank of England are estimating that the economy won’t reach pre-COVID levels until the end of 2021 – this gives us potentially another 18 months of job losses, reduced borrowing, and uncertainly. With winter coming, this is on top of the potential threat of a second wave without any further furlough or government support.

There was some good news in June, following lifting of restrictions, the economy began to show signs of bouncing back. It remains to be seen how quickly the easing of restrictions will contribute to the economy’s recovery – or if workplaces will be able to find innovative ways to maintain job security. We hope that the easing of the lockdown will help things get back to normal, along with the reopening of hospitality, restaurants, leisure activities – and in September, schools.

Tracey Salisbury