With increasing job losses in the UK – how can employers help?

Whether you’re increasing or reducing your workforce, you can still make a difference.  


 

Following various TV and radio interviews, and his popular webinar 'The Forecasts of the Labour Market', Pavan Arora, Acorn’s Director of Permanent Recruitment, gives us his insight on how employers, whether recruiting or reducing staff numbers, can help those at risk of losing their job with the furlough support scheme coming to an end.  

Future planning and changing recruitment approaches

 

If you are in the position to continue with your recruitment plans, then there’s all sorts of things you can do to not only appoint the best people in the market, but also truly make a difference to your industry, communities and the economy.

Think outside your sector

Identifying transferable skills is essential right now.  For some time, certain skills have been overlooked in favour of industry experience, however now’s the time to understand what skills work best in your company. 

Assess the roles you have available, look at previous hires and what skills your most successful employees have demonstrated, and identify what skills you need from your future employees.  You’d be surprised what people can bring to the table and this is particularly useful for industries like e-commerce where they’re seeing rapid growth but unfortunately still lack of people available.  We recently placed a Salon Manager into a  Procurement Admin role – historically her CV would never have been shortlisted based on her industry, however when looking into her skills we quickly identified her as a perfect match for the role and company.

Be mindful of the vulnerable demographics

The top five demographics of people more likely to be affected by job loss are part time workers, the younger generation (under 35), women, lone parents and those from BAME communities.  This is linked to the heavily affected sectors that have a higher proportion of these people within their workforce, such as retail (non-food), hospitality, entertaining, beauty and travel. 

Younger people with less experience, or who are perhaps newer to the company, will be let go over those who have been with the company longer with more experience.  Part-time workers, lone parents and women have suffered enormously with the closure of schools and lack of childcare options, with many having to completely walk away from their jobs to cope with the pressures the worldwide pandemic has caused.  And up to 58% of those from BAME communities, who play a significant role in the hospitality and retail industries for example, have had their employment affected.

We’re working with a number of employers to review their recruitment methods, and offering support to ensure a non-bias hiring approach that looks at skills, work ethic, attitude and aptitude. 

Now is the time for positive change and employers can build a pipeline of talent based on skills, not backgrounds, to ensure complete equality, diversity and inclusion.

 

Community values

For many years, we have also worked with employers who look into the CSR aspect of their recruitment and this is now more essential than ever.  Are you in a position to prioritise the recruitment of those within the communities you work in, who have been out of work for sometime?  We have some great case studies on how this has had a huge positive impact on the community and the company’s success.

Planning for retirement

For some people, furlough or perhaps a slower pace of life, has given them a taste of what retirement could be.  For many businesses, these potential early retirees are the only people in the company with their skillset, and if they go, they take their skills with them.  Planning is essential to protect your company in this case, as you must start training and up-skilling current and new employees to avoid significant disruption to your business.  

Various recruitment options

To demonstrate how your company is aware of the demographic impact as well as the industry implications COVID-19 has had, there are a number of recruitment options that you could consider that may not have previously been part of your process, but might just help individuals, your company and the economy as a whole.

  • Work experience - For the graduates who were let go because they were the last ones in, or the people who have the skills and knowledge, but haven’t quite got the ‘industry lingo’ – can you offer work experience to give them a foot in the door?
  • Flexibility – For the lone parents and those who need part-time hours – what further flexibility can you provide? The plans for remote working throughout the country are incredible, and will make a huge difference to many, however can you offer reduced hours or temporary contracts to allow for even more flexibility to manage priorities outside of work, so they too can enjoy a successful career and contribute effectively to your business.
  • Temp to perm – Taking on permanent employees right now is difficult, even with businesses with the most prosperous recruitment plans, as everything is so un-known.  Temporary to permanent opportunities can give you the assurance to put your trust in a new hire, especially from various backgrounds, without the full financial commitment.  And likewise, it allows your new employees to build their confidence and show you how well positioned they are in your company and industry.  
  • Training – With so much government funding available for people to develop their skills, this provides you with some great financial benefits, so please do recruit and commit to those who can bring a funded training package with them.
  • Permanent recruitment – Of course, if you are in a position to take on permanent employees, now is the best time to do it.  Whilst for many years industries have struggled to find certain people for skilled roles, we have professionals across various sectors reaching out to us for work.  We’d also urge you not to dismiss applicants who might be over-qualified. We’re seeing people from all sorts of backgrounds suddenly out of work, many of which have families to feed and bills to pay, so are therefore willing to take a step down to get back to work.
Outplacement support

 

Unfortunately, there are many companies who cannot begin to think about recruiting as they face putting their current staff at risk.  We know these businesses are doing everything they can to avoid redundancies but in some situations this is simply unavoidable. There are however still plenty of things you can do to help your staff who are at risk.

  • Recognise transferable skills - Identify certain growth sectors that would benefit from your employees’ skillsets, and show your staff how to recognise their value and transfer their abilities and experiences to different industry scenarios.  Being put at risk can really knock someone’s confidence, so they’ll appreciate you highlighting what they have to offer to other businesses.  Support them with their CVs, prepare professional references and introduce them to recruiters and other contacts you’ve built along the way.
  • Don’t waste the final weeks - In the last months or weeks with you, identify up-skilling opportunities. Encourage them to finish or carry out relevant projects that they can then take with them to demonstrate achievements, knowledge and commitment, and can confidently talk about findings and new ideas during their interviews.
  • Funding streams - Likewise with our advice to businesses who can employ, identify the funding and training that is available to your employees and send them on their way with the most admirable package to those hiring.
Communicate

 

My final point, may seem the most simple but yet is the easiest to forget in such difficult times.  Whilst at Acorn, we are seeing increased job opportunities month-on-month, we’re also seeing huge increases in applications, which we’re expecting to rise over the next few months.  With hundreds of people applying to every job, it can seem an impossible task to reply and communicate to everyone.

It’s easy to assume that people applying to your jobs have applied to tens, even hundreds more, but in reality there’ll prioritise just a few roles at a time and will rarely move on to other opportunities until they’ve heard back. So even if your reply isn’t the news someone wants to hear, please update them when you can – all people want is honesty.

Afterall, there’s a person, a family and a story behind every CV, and we, with your support, want to do everything we can to help them.  

If you want to discuss any of the elements raised above, please contact me for further information.  

Pavan Arora
Director of Permanent Recruitment
Pavan manages our permanent, specialist and executive search recruitment teams which deliver innovative, retention focused talent solutions. An award-winning recruitment director with a candidate experience centric approach, ensuring our clients secure the best in class talent from across the UK & Europe.
07985 183 996
Contact us today to discuss your recruitment needs.
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