The employment market is buoyant, which is good news for those coming off the scheme, says Reed Recruitment chair James Reed
The Job Retention Scheme, also known as furlough, was the economic initiative that saved millions of jobs and stopped unemployment from skyrocketing in the spring of 2020.
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has attempted to wind down the scheme on several occasions since. However, the increase in Covid-19 cases forced the chancellor to extend it well into 2021.
Now, more than a year after the extension window was first announced, with the success of the vaccine rollout and the unlocking of society, furlough will finally wind down at the end of September.
The latest Government statistics show that 1.9 million people remain on furlough but with the scheme ending, many will be wondering what their life will look like after furlough and whether a job will be waiting for them.
For anyone feeling concerned about this, it’s very important to note that the labour market is currently very buoyant.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently announced that between May and July this year there were an estimated 953,000 vacancies in the UK, and we have seen this jobs boom first-hand at Reed.co.uk where we now have more than 280,000 jobs live.
By the end of July this year, Reed.co.uk had already surpassed the number of job roles added to the site compared with the whole year of 2020.
And in the first three weeks of August, we saw nearly 250,000 new job roles added. I’m in no doubt that as we move into September and as people return from their summer holidays, there will be even more pressure on businesses to hire new staff and to create new job opportunities.
It may be that you are considering changing roles or are concerned that your job may not be around once furlough ends but remember that many sectors are thriving as we recover from the effect of the pandemic.
If you are looking to change careers and move into a new sector, then there is a huge amount of online resource to support you in making the switch. Reed.co.uk has over 60,000 modestly priced online courses that you could complete before the end of September, putting you in the best position for a career switch once furlough ends.
Confidence is a crucial factor when entering the jobs market, but understandably, you may be apprehensive that you will be treated differently having been on furlough for up to 18 months.
My take on this? Businesses will understand the difficult situation that people have been going through. Having faith that your role would return post pandemic is completely understandable and recruiters will empathise with your position.
Here are some useful tips for anyone worried about entering the jobs market once furlough ends.
Firstly, try to visualise your future – work out where you want to be and identify the steps you will need to take to reach your goal. I would recommend really opening yourself up to a change – and think about what you are willing to do differently, which in turn will help you achieve your goals.
Additionally, offer commitment – don’t allow yourself to be side-tracked or talked out of a decision if you feel it to be right.
These tips come under the umbrella of self-belief, and while it may be challenging entering the jobs market, I do not doubt that taking these steps will help you to rebuild your confidence and to secure your next job role.
There will be challenges ahead, but jobseekers have rarely been in a better position to find a new role. Businesses are hiring people in numbers we haven’t seen since before the financial crisis of 2008. Your confidence may be low, especially if at the end of furlough you, unfortunately lose your job. But by opening yourself up to a range of opportunities you could well open up an exciting new avenue for your future career.
Lastly, and this is a shameless plug, if you are invited to an interview, you could take time to look at my book Why You? 101 Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again. Good luck!
This article was originally published in The Independent newspaper