UK job vacancies surpass one million for the first time since the start of the pandemic

12th November, 2021 Read time: 2 min

No one wants to find themselves in a position where they are unexpectedly left without a job, but this was unfortunately the case for hundreds of thousands of people when the pandemic hit.

As a nation, our mental wellbeing and the stability of our job market was rocked to the core, with countless people suddenly grappling with what furlough would mean for them and their future.  

With Universal Credit claimants almost doubling from 1.4 million in March 2020 to 2.6 million in April 2021, and sectors such as leisure and hospitality that were usually staffed by young workers being forced to shut their doors, uncertainty around employment was unavoidable for many. By June 2021, 2.4 million workers were furloughed, with many employers being unable to say for sure what might happen when the furlough scheme comes to a close in September.  

The result of all of this uncertainty? Careers support providers have had to significantly diversify their offering in order to properly help those in need. Before the pandemic, advisers provided in-person support, primarily to people who had been out of work for a long time and needed help with writing their CV. With the introduction of lockdown, more people than ever found themselves needing employment support, and careers advisers have had to adapt their ways of working to provide that support in a safe way, utilising phone calls and video sharing software to deliver crucial advice and guidance.  

It’s become a large part of a careers advisers' role to provide support to those who have been out of work for a matter of days or weeks, rather than a matter of years, those who have found themselves needing to apply for Rapid Redundancy Support funding, those on furlough without the promise of a job at the end, or those applying to university in a year where courses are over-subscribed.  

Through what has been a very unstable and emotional time for the UK workforce, there appears to be a light beginning to shine at the end of the tunnel, with recent data from HM Revenue and Customs showing that job vacancies have had a significant upturn and payroll employment now matching pre-pandemic levels.  

This is great news, but it isn’t enough to put everyone’s minds at ease. As Gerwyn Davies, an adviser at the CIPD body for HR professionals, states, jobseekers “want more than a job; they also want some level of security after such an uncertain period.

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