The Impact of Covid-19 On The UK Job Market

The Impact of Covid-19 On The UK Job Market

There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact upon the recruitment industry. Whilst the logistics, legal, medical and IT sectors for example, are maintaining demand, other sectors such as hospitality, aviation, and high street retailers have suffered.

The UK unemployment rate for July to September 2020 averaged  4.8%, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), an increase from 3.9% a year earlier.  This is partly due to a rise in redundancies and self-employed people struggling to secure work, but there has also been a large slump in companies hiring.

The Coronavirus Job Retention scheme and more recently, the Job Support Scheme have helped protect jobs. However, in preparation for the end of the CJRS and before the Job Support Scheme announcement, many companies had already cut jobs. According to figures released by the ONS, July to September saw a record rise in the number of redundancies of 181,000.

Most predictions suggest that unemployment will continue to rise for the rest of 2020 and into 2021.  The Bank of England recently forecasted that unemployment is likely to peak at about 7.7% in Spring 2021.

One of the hardest-hit groups has been young people. Figures show that 174,000 fewer 16- to 24-year-olds were employed in July to September, compared to the previous three months. (BBC)  

Young people tend to work in sectors which have been hardest hit, hospitality, retail and tourism which has been a major factor.  However, I’m also seeing fewer opportunities across the board.  The availability of entry level or junior roles, apprenticeships and graduate opportunities have seen a dramatic decline.  General uncertainty, the transition to home working along with the challenges of virtual interviews have all played their part.  There will also be an element of ‘we can do without’ these roles with many companies looking to defer hiring at the more junior levels.

This year we have seen a significant shift from a candidate led market to an employer led market. According to official figures, when it comes to job seekers – supply outweighs demand.  This would suggest that employers are finding it easier to fill vacancies with ideal candidates, but this hasn’t always been the case.

From my own experience within the accounting and legal industry, recruitment came to an almost standstill for a large part of 2020. However, certain business areas are showing earlier signs of recovery with recruitment ramping up in the areas of tax, insolvency and litigation.  This seems to be an industry trend, thus competition remains high as firms work to compete for the same candidates.  This, coupled with candidates being more hesitant about career changes due to Covid-19 uncertainty means resourcing is challenging.

For the most part, application numbers have increased.  This increase is an outcome of the unfortunate rising unemployment levels and candidates taking a more scattergun approach when applying for roles.  More employers are embracing flexible and remote working so the geographical spread of candidates nationally and even internationally has also increased.

2020 has been a tough year, but the Covid-19 pandemic will pass. Recruitment doesn’t have to grind to a halt until the crisis passes. When the outbreak ends, employers will have less time to hire the right candidates and position themselves for the next phase.  As we move into 2021, we will also start to see the usual movement in the market as candidates consider new opportunities and employers look forward and push on with business growth.

From myself and all at ETL Resourcing, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

Jenny Jones is Director of ETL Resourcing, she has worked in recruitment with various high-profile companies for over 10 years. ETL Resourcing is a dedicated talent acquisition partner for ETL Global partners and many businesses around the UK.

If you are interested in developing the recruitment and retention strategies for your business or improving your employer brand, contact Jenny Jones, Director of ETL Resourcing.

How-To Successfully Recruit and Onboard Remotely

How-To Successfully Recruit and Onboard Remotely

For many businesses, the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a sudden switch to remote working and significant budget cuts to deal with the impact of UK lockdown. As we enter the rebuild phase, offices around the UK are beginning to reopen and businesses are developing new ways to adapt and innovate. As remote working has now become the new normal for many, and many workers actually preferring the flexibility and new-found benefits of working remotely, business leaders and managers responsible for the hiring and onboarding of new employees face many new challenges. 

In this article, Jenny Jones – Director of ETL Resourcing, explores the ways in which businesses can adjust their recruitment process to successfully hire and onboard new employees post-lockdown.

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for UK businesses but has also provided various opportunities for businesses to embrace a new way of working. When hiring a new starter,  a good first impression will create a more productive and positive employee experience. It is worth considering that a business with a seamless recruitment and onboarding process will be highly regarded by new team members. It is also important to remember that if using a remote onboarding process, this will be just as strange for your new team member. As restrictions begin to relax, the process should be adapted to make sure any candidates or new starters feel comfortable through the whole experience. 

Accept the challenges

Even as the lockdown restrictions begin to relax, the challenges arising as a result of the pandemic continue to present themselves. The immediate shift to remote working has also created opportunities for many businesses. Many software tools and technologies have been implemented or offered for free to help companies embrace digital productivity tools that may have been unfamiliar for teams pre-lockdown.

We are beginning to realise that the normal, working situation and environment we knew, will not be returning for the foreseeable future. As a result, many businesses have been establishing a ‘new normal’ way of working, where working remotely is the normality, not the exception. Business leaders must now consider a plan to mitigate the challenges of this new working routine or run the risk of unproductive employees, poor mental wellbeing and even increased staff turnover.

Improve your technology

For remote working to be successful, employees must be equipped with the correct technologies and resources. From laptops and mobile phones, to the software systems that improve the efficiency of remote working, managers must ensure their teams and technology are prepared. Think about building the use of technology including policies, procedures and passwords into the ‘welcome pack’ for your new starter to make sure they are well equipped for their first day of remote work.

Remote working may also highlight several knowledge gaps across teams. Encourage staff to participate in online learning and development training to reskill or upskill both new and existing employees. It may not replace the real thing, but live webinars and digital courses are a great way for employees to continue or begin their professional development plan remotely. Make sure to keep a record of all staff training that is undertaken and by whom, and consider providing employee surveys to assess the effectiveness of virtual learning and upskilling.

Reinvent your processes

Technology leaders encourage the automation of processes wherever possible. Productivity tools such as Trello or Slack provide channels for different projects and teams to collaborate and keep track of working schedules and timelines. Effective digital communication tools also mitigate the need for in-person introductions as users can fill out a small profile and questionnaire to help new recruits identify team members and their roles. Chat and messenger facilities are also available for employees to communicate between themselves too. 

Increase communication 

Communication is imperative for both new and existing employees. Especially when working remotely, an additional emphasis should be placed on the importance of effective and regular communication across teams. Open communication channels can help managers understand how to support their employees in the best way possible. A team that communicates well helps create a positive environment where expectations and targets are consistently achieved and open communication with managers ensures performance is being measured and monitored. 

Effective communication not only helps to keep track of employee productivity, it also provides a channel to observe employee wellbeing during these challenging times. Teams and managers that stay in constant communication will have a deeper understanding of each others’ expectations, individual needs and frustrations. Schedule regular meetings to ensure communication with new and existing employees continues and remind employees of staying in touch by inviting them to regular team catch ups and virtual meetings!

Maintaining Employee Engagement for Remote Workers

Maintaining Employee Engagement for Remote Workers

During the Coronavirus pandemic, companies have been forced to implement remote working, which may have caused changes in the productivity and working habits of a firm. Employee engagement has been a growing topic of focus for many businesses in recent years and as a result of the Coronavirus crises, this has become even more significant.  Employers are now looking for effective ways to maintain or increase employee engagement while they are working from home.  In this article, Jenny Jones – Director of ETL Resourcing, discusses how to keep employees engaged while working from home.

Ensure easy communication

Regular communication is essential.  Managers are currently unable to be present in the office to reassure and support employees in person, so regular communications via email and phone are even more important.  Keep employees up-to-date with new projects and company news; remind them that they are important and that you are there for them.  It is also important to ensure that your communications are optimistic and addressing employees’ fears. 

There are a number of online applications, tools and websites that can facilitate effective communication between employees including; Microsoft Teams, Trello and Google Docs. Allowing employees to simply and quickly stay in touch with colleagues allows teams to involve everyone in key decisions and updates whenever necessary. 

Organise virtual ‘in-person’ events 

A brilliant way to keep employees involved and engaged while working from home is to actually see each other, face to face. Obviously, in these times, this must be done virtually but luckily there are a number of virtual platforms to schedule video calls and meetings with employees.

Set clear but flexible expectations

If you want employees to be engaged and productive while working remotely, ensure that clear expectations are set. Employees’ normal working routines have been disrupted by these new working arrangements, childcare and the feeling of uncertainty, so be clear with employees about work expectations and performance. Trust employees to get their work done, but recognise that it might not fall within the standard workday.

Develop short, mid and long-term goals for each employee, and ensure that these link back to your company vision and mission as it’s imperative to make sure employees feel like they’re part of the company culture.

Recognise achievements

Employee engagement and recognition go hand-in-hand. In order to have a better connection with your remote workers, you have to recognise their strengths, weaknesses, and interests. It’s definitely an easy way to make your remote employees feel valued and appreciated. When managers show appreciation for their employees, it has the tendency to make employees appreciate their managers more, too.

There are brilliant resources online to help you successfully manage your team during this lockdown period. Take a look at this online course from LinkedIn to get you started: 

Post Lockdown: Employee Wellbeing and Safety

Post Lockdown: Employee Wellbeing and Safety

We are now two months into the lockdown in the UK and employees are adapting to new ways of working. We may be far from what we would have considered to be the ‘normal’ office environment – but employers should be actively planning for the eventual return to the office.

This article will explore the necessary health and safety measures to be considered and  equally as important, the psychological impact of the pandemic upon employees. Furthermore, we explore how companies can support employee’s physical and mental wellbeing during a return to the office.

What measures do you need to put in place to ensure offices are safe?

When the time comes for companies to start bringing employees back to the workplace, it would be a mistake to expect employees to return to normal as soon as lockdown restrictions are lifted.  The stakes are high and this momentous return to the office exercise will not be straight-forward. The process must be carefully considered and handled strategically, otherwise any mistakes could have long term implications upon employee trust, morale, attrition rates and your employer brand.

Health and safety measures may include:

  • Providing appropriate PPE, signage, screens and hygiene products.
  • Not bringing employees back all in one go and taking a staggered approach – think about the roles you absolutely need to have in the office and then plan accordingly.
  • Implementing policies around use of toilets, canteens and kitchens.
  • Continue to allow people to work from home where possible.
  • Stagger core hours for those returning to the office and offer flexibility.
  • Invest in advanced cleaning services; regularly disinfecting desks, keyboards, telephones etc.
  • Temperature checks upon entry into the office.
  • Revise seating plans to abide by the 2 meter rule.
  • Where possible, keep doors open.

Companies also need to have a rapid exit plan and should be prepared for a potential shut-down scenario if employees test positive.  Employees need to be clear about what procedures they should follow if they begin to feel unwell. 

Employee well-being

Whether employees are returning to the office, continuing to work from home, returning to work after being furloughed or a mix of all three, it is important for employers to recognise that these have been incredibly uncertain times for employees. Many will have experienced challenging home situations, such as having to manage childcare, caring for vulnerable relatives or financial worries. Many people will also be dealing with feelings of isolation and anxiety for a number of reasons, but these worries won’t disappear overnight. In fact, they may be heightened when faced with returning to the office…

Employee perceptions of safety are just as important as the actual safety mechanisms you put in place.  So, how do you manage perception of safety to ensure employees feel comfortable returning to the office?

How do you ensure employees feel safe to return to work?

Clear communication about the health and safety measures which are being put into place, and why is essential.  Employees need to be confident that their employer is taking things seriously and placing employee wellbeing as their first priority.

As soon as possible send a company-wide communication about your updated policies and procedures for the return to the office. Even if you do not have any fully formed plans, it is a good idea to let employees know you are proactively managing it. You may also invite employees to provide suggestions for their return to work.

Managers should be encouraged and supported to have one to one meetings with each employee with a focus on employee safety and well-being.  Managers must have a sensitive and open conversation to discuss support or reasonable adjustments individuals feel are needed.  Some employees may require a phased return, want to discuss new working arrangements or have concerns about travelling to work using public transport. It is also likely that some employees will not be able to return to the office and that is something that you need to know as early as possible so that arrangements can be made.

If your business has access to an Employee Assistance Programme or Occupational Health advisors, remind employees of these services.  There are also lots of online resources on well-being from organisations such as Mind .

Particular sensitivity may be needed when reintroducing furloughed employees.  Alongside concerns for their safety, they will have spent a significant amount of time away from their regular work, may feel out of touch and potentially resent the fact they were furloughed.

The workplace which employees are returning to is likely to look very different to the one they left earlier in the year.  Expectations, targets, rules, budgets, office environment and structures will look different which will feel daunting to most, if not all.  It will be vital to have a re-induction process in place for returning employees which should cover topics such as company procedures, business updates and changes, customer updates and changes to their work duties.  

Also, let’s not forget those employees who will continue to work from home.  Managers may find it easier to communicate and engage employees in the office but it is essential that they are encouraged to continue to communicate with those who will not be returning to the office immediately.  Home workers may start to feel even more isolated when seeing colleagues returning to the office and getting back some level of normality. Technology infrastructure must remain in place to continue to support remote working and tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams must continue to be utilised.

This pandemic has affected the workforce in many different ways.  Some employees will have been furloughed while others will have continued to work or even had increased workloads to have to contend with.  Personal circumstances, the challenge of lockdown and anxiety make it even more important to ensure that your company fosters an inclusive working environment.  Managers need to be sensitive to any underlying tensions and feel confident about tackling these immediately.

Jenny Jones

Jenny Jones

Director, ETL Resourcing

Jenny Jones is Director of ETL Resourcing, she has worked in recruitment with various high-profile companies for over 10 years. ETL Resourcing is a dedicated talent acquisition partner for ETL Global partners and many businesses around the UK. If you are interested in developing the recruitment and retention strategies for your business or improving your employer brand, contact

Supporting Employee Wellbeing While Working From Home

Supporting Employee Wellbeing While Working From Home

During these challenging times, it is likely many of us will be working from home for longer periods of time to stay safe during the coronavirus outbreak. For those who aren’t familiar with working from home, it can feel a bit daunting, it has meant adapting to a new working routine and dynamic whilst navigating the unprecedented challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic that many businesses are facing. In this article, Jenny Jones – Director of ETL Resourcing, explores the ways managers can manage and support employee wellbeing while working from home.

Embrace technology

Managers should provide the equipment and advice for employees to use technology at home. Offer guidance for those not used to working from home – perhaps implement a ‘buddy’ scheme to help people gain confidence with different technology. Use platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom or other online communication tools to encourage teams to work together and communicate. Providing the right tools for employees to embrace technology from home will help people feel more confident and comfortable with working from home. 

Promote the available support

You should make sure there is enough wellbeing support and guidance for all employees during these changes and uncertain times. If you do not promote the support that is available to employees they cannot be expected to take advantage of it and may feel worried and unsure of their current situation. You can also ask your team what tools and support they will find helpful right now and look at making different online tools and classes available.

Keep talking

While most of your team will be home working right now, many may also be ‘lone working’ and being on their own at home can be very isolating for employees. Ensure you schedule regular meetings and informal catch-ups with all team members and check in on them on a frequent basis to see how everyone is getting on.

Encourage the social aspects of work

Many of your employees will usually enjoy socialising with their friends at work. Don’t ignore the need to build opportunities for your team to socialise while working from home. Get creative with the different ways to socialise virtually, try a team pub quiz via Zoom or encourage colleagues to call each other rather than just emailing, you can even schedule virtual after work drinks on a Friday to celebrate the week!

Remember to celebrate the positives

If you have new joiners, new work or someone has done something worth shouting about, don’t forget to celebrate and share the positive stuff. Encouraging employees to take advantage of a better work life balance opportunity presented by home working and not having to deal with the daily commute. Also remind them about the importance of switching off from work and not being connected 24/7.

Develop personal planning and self care

It is a very unsettling and worrying time for everyone. During these challenges, many of your team may need extra support and guidance. You can advise your employees to develop a personal action plan to manage their mental and physical wellbeing during this period and focus on how they can remain positive with practical steps to improve their mindset and wellness in light of recent events.

You can find lots of resources online to help you support employee wellbeing during this time. Visit for lots of advice, resources and guidance on mental health.


Jenny Jones

Jenny Jones

Director, ETL Resourcing

Jenny Jones is Director of ETL Resourcing, she has worked in recruitment with various high-profile companies for over 10 years. ETL Resourcing is a dedicated talent acquisition partner for ETL Global partners and many businesses around the UK. If you are interested in developing the recruitment and retention strategies for your business or improving your employer brand, contact

Is Now A Good Time to Think About Your Employer Brand?

Is Now A Good Time to Think About Your Employer Brand?

It goes without saying, it’s been a tough couple of weeks. Almost overnight, the world changed and we’ve all had to find and adjust to alternative ways of working. Companies were left with no alternative but to respond quickly and quite rightly, many have focused on their employees by communicating, managing, re-deploying and furloughing.  

Nobody will come out of this unscathed and some difficult decisions are still to be made. However, these quick responses will have gone a long way to protect employer brands and employee morale which has never been so important.

In this article, Jenny Jones – Director of ETL Resourcing, probes into a common question she’s been asked, Is it a good time to be thinking about your employer brand right now? Well, the simple answer is yes!

People are safe at home, looking for positive, inspirational and also useful content to lift their spirits and which they can share with others. Sharing good news stories like how you’re boosting staff morale; images of video calls or even virtual socials are great ways of humanising your employer brand and keeping you top of mind over the coming months. Maybe you’ve been fortunate enough to have new starters join or have moved ahead with staff promotions, this stuff needs to be shouted about!

Creating and sharing a useful set of resources is also a great way to engage with your audience as it will not only offer support to your network, it will also allow you to spend time in meaningful conversations and is a great way to build trust in your brand.  You could write articles, host webinars, pre-record videos and podcasts and create some useful training content or a catalogue of useful sources.

In times like this it’s important to appreciate what we all have, and when that comes to employer branding it is the people in your company that define your brand. So, what could be more authentic than getting your employees involved? Encourage them to talk about how you’ve been managing the situation over the last few weeks; how they’re adjusting to new ways of working at home with children and pets, include photos or ask them to share new skills, hobbies or learning since isolating.

Offering this transparency will show a lot about you as an employer and your leadership, and it’s likely to be this projection of confidence, stability and hope which people will value during these uncertain times.

Finally, and most importantly, everyone needs to continue to stay safe during these challenging times and try to remain positive. If we all look after each other and focus on being kind, we will come out the other side ready to do great things for our employer brand.

Jenny Jones

Jenny Jones

Director, ETL Resourcing

Jenny Jones is Director of ETL Resourcing, she has worked in recruitment with various high-profile companies for over 10 years. ETL Resourcing is a dedicated talent acquisition partner for ETL Global partners and many businesses around the UK. If you are interested in developing the recruitment and retention strategies for your business or improving your employer brand, contact