Starting a career & searching for a new job in a pandemic – Exclusive Insight

by | Aug 13, 2020 | News

Two in three of the UK’s employed are interested in a new job as Britain returns to work after lockdown, according to our latest research.

Our research from July 2020 looks at how UK workers have changed their behaviours and motivations around searching for work as a result of COVID-19.

Here’s what 2,509 UK workers told us about their approach to starting a career and looking for a new job during a pandemic:

20% of respondents have applied for a new job during the pandemic. A further 23% have searched for a new job

With a third of respondents telling us it’s likely they’ll experience a loss of income during the pandemic, many have turned to the jobs market in search of an increased wage. 

What’s your priority when searching for a new job? 

Government figures suggest young people are the hardest hit by loss of income as a direct result of coronavirus. According to our data, 18-30s are the most active in making applications for a new job.

The same behaviors apply when seeing what’s on the market, 18-30 year olds are more likely to have searched for a new job than any other age bracket.

40% of 18-24s will turn to higher education to help start their career during the pandemic

When comparing results from March 2020 to July 2020, a greater number of 18-24s told us university / higher education / further qualifications will be their chosen route to starting a career.

What will be your path to career entry?

Our results suggest people have not been deterred by institutions transitioning study to online based learning. The average time period of three years being needed to complete study could also provide a clear timeline in what’s been an uncertain time.

When looking at the last three years of data, the number of people who’ve started a career by going straight-to-work has increased significantly. 

Nearly one in three people choose to enter work straight away. Coronavirus has had no impact so far on these figures in 2020.

The number of people pursuing apprenticeships remains relatively low, having always been 10% or below in the same research over the last three years.

Of those who are in work currently, but did not go to university, 51% of respondents feel it’s impacted their job search/career

We asked our panel of UK workers who did not go to university:

Do you feel like the lack of a university degree impacted your job search or career? Please select all that apply. 

Almost a fifth of respondents who did not study for a university degree feel it’s limited their choices for a new career.

Organisations seeking to hire individuals for jobs that do not require university education can proactively call this information out in job adverts and communications, to dispel anxiety that a lack of a degree could hold an applicant back.

50% of respondents have taken a professional course to further their career

Almost three in four have already taken a course, or are considering taking a course, to further their career. We asked:

Have you ever taken a professional course to develop your skills or increase employment potential?

Around one in four (27%) respondents have taken an online course to better themselves professionally during the lockdown period between March and June 2020.

During Lockdown, which of the following describes your actions?

45% of respondents start their job search on job sites like

Job sites with a wealth of new job content in one place remain the most selected entry point when starting the search for work. We asked:

Where do you start your search for a new job?

Less time on the commute and more time at home has increased searches via Professional Networks between March – July 2020. 

More respondents are turning to Recruitment Agencies, to leverage their knowledge of the market and new job opportunities, in the same time frame. 

About our research

For five years have commissioned research of UK workers to better understand the motivations behind a job search, and expectations around the hiring process. 

We ran this year’s edition throughout January and February 2020, getting results in early March. Then COVID-19 reached the UK and changed everything.

In June, as the government eased lockdown, we repeated our survey with additional questions based on how COVID-19 has impacted the search for a new job. 

We’ve tracked trends and behaviours to produce insight that helps organisations retain staff and hire the talent they need to help Keep Britain Working.

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