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Increased threat of redundancies post lockdown

Redundancies are a huge challenge for all parties, especially during this uncertain time, that's why Hewett Recruitment are offering bespoke redundancy support packages. 

Laura Hewett recently participated in the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership's Making Connections podcast, "Redundancy impact and advice"

How is the recruitment market following the global pandemic and UK lockdown? 

Hewett Recruitment saw a significant change for the recruitment industry in March due to the Coronavirus – everything, temp and perm just suddenly stopped!

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation's Midlands specific ‘Report on Jobs’ reported April as:

  • The biggest drop in Perm placements and Temp billings in the history of the report (over double that of credit crunch)
  • The same circumstance for Job Vacancies
  • The first increase in staff availability for over 7 years… suggesting redundancies have occurred.

Since then we are seeing recruitment picking up again, after the initial shock, with businesses working out virtual recruitment processes and onboarding, but of course, now there are more redundancies too which are tipping the balance to more people finding themselves unemployed. This will continue to rise as the furlough scheme begins to unwind. We expect to see significant redundancies in August and September as costs have to be taken on by the employer.

Which types of roles are being most affected by redundancy and where is recruitment still happening?

Key areas facing redundancy seem to be retail, travel and hospitality, which have been widely reported in the press due to the large numbers in a single organisation like British Airways or Easy Jet, boots or John Lewis. Another key job function to be affected is administration and office support, which is less widely reported as it tends to be smaller numbers per company. But with remote working in full swing and companies making the leap to being paperless, many administrators simply don’t have the work to do.

There is a mismatch emerging in terms of the skills being made redundant and where we are seeing recruitment arising:

Despite several thousand redundancies within the aerospace and automotive industries from the likes of JLR and Airbus, there is still a skills shortage in IT and Engineering. Therefore, these are the industries who continue to recruit. Many tech companies are holding onto their people as much as they can as they know how difficult it can be to recruit or have learnt lessons from the 2009 recession when they let people go and then as recovery happened, it was difficult to recruit and then costly to re-train the required skills. 

As we are now seeing many organisations returning to work and the furlough scheme beginning to ease, many reports expect the rate of redundancy to increase. It's now more than ever that our redundancy support workshops are relevant and here to support clients with redundancies. 

Companies have focused so much on building their employer brand over recent years, to attract the best talent, and it’s important to protect that by looking after employees even when going through a redundancy process, right to the end of their employment.

What does Hewett Recruitment's redundancy support include?

Our redundancy support is not a new service, it’s something we have run for many many years, even before the last recession. Due to this we have a wide depth of knowledge and experience, resulting in a formula that works and that always receives great feedback. But as you can imagine, we are definitely getting more enquiries through at the moment.

The aim of Hewett Recruitment's redundancy support is exactly as it seems, to support businesses in supporting their employees who are facing redundancy. It includes redundancy workshops and outplacement support.

It's such a scary time for people facing redundancy, just 6-12 months ago if people were in that postion, with unemployment at a record low, they could be confident that their next role would be just round the corner. However, this simply isn't the case currently, with the global pandemic making the job search significantly more difficult. Therefore, any additional support to make employees facing redundancy more prepared to enter the job market is going to be really valuable

The package we offer includes redundancy workshops and outplacement support. This can be flexible to include group sessions and one-to-one consultations. From previous experience, we have found that it works well to combine the two approaches as the group sessions encourage sharing knowledge, mutual support and a sense of being ‘in this together’ while the individual sessions can be completely bespoke to the person – their “personal coach” and can use the time as a deep-dive into whichever element of the process is most important/challenging for them. 

The objectives of the sessions are:

  1. Building confidence (big one as hearing in the press about large numbers of redundancies, so a lot of competition for jobs)
  2. Discovering the hidden jobs market & the job search 
  3. Using networking and social media to your advantage
  4. CV writing
  5. Cover letters
  6. Application forms
  7. Interview techniques for success/practice interviews
  8. The benefits system – sign-posting and advice
  9. Ongoing Support - Once individuals have established a relationship with our Consultants or Directors in the 1-to-1 sessions, they will have open access to call or pop in to see them for advice and support going forward. In many cases, we would aim to place individuals into suitable vacancies in the local area, securing suitable and sustainable employment as quickly as possible. 

The impact of the Summer Economic Update for businesses thinking of making staff redundant

"Most business leaders agree that the government support has been fantastic overall with what has been offered, particularly the furlough scheme and CBILS" Laura Hewett, Director of Hewett Recruitment comments, 

"I think the intention for the most recent measures are without question well-meaning, but talking specifically about the £1K bonus for companies holding onto people returning from furlough, I think that is likely to be more of a ‘bonus’ for companies who were going to keep those workers anyway, as opposed to it being enough of a motivator for companies needing to reduce headcount.

What under-pins a businesses likelihood of hiring and therefore not making redundancies is confidence and at the moment, confidence is so low. Are these more recent measures realistically going to shift business confidence enough to really make a material difference?"

Measures employers should take to ensure they retain their staff and avoid making redundancies post lockdown:

  • Anything that can be done to increase consumer confidence and spending and in turn business confidence
  • Anything that immediately makes it cheaper to employ someone, so maybe a reduction in National Insurance contributions could help, or something along those lines.

Advice to those made redundant to help them find new work

Being made redundant can be a huge challenge for people. If you, or someone you know, find yourself in a redundancy situation, the following tips offer key guidance and advice to help you on your way to finding new opportunities.

1. Put some time into your CV 

Take the time to put some real thought into your CV. Ensure you display your experience and achievements clearly and concisely. Make sure you use a template if you haven’t written one before and get someone to proofread it for you – nothing more off-putting than spelling mistakes and typos.

We've put together various free helpful guides and CV templates to download here, so do take a look.

2. Be open-minded. 

Try to use this as an opportunity to try something new. Have you thought about Temp work? Most people who have been in a permanent job would normally want to remain permanently employed, which is completely understandable as it can offer more security and long-term employment. However, in this market, our consultants would urge people to be open-minded. In the last recession, we saw Temp recruitment pick up first as it is a lower risk way for businesses to react to demand increases. Particularly with the prospect of a 2nd wave, it might be that businesses look to hire people as long term temps, or temp-to-perm.

For further information regarding our Redundancy Support, click here.

For any a confidential conversation or expert advice, please don't hesitate to get in touch.