The majority of young people have found it harder to secure high-quality work since the start of the pandemic, research has found, with poor mental health one of the main barriers.
A report from the Institute of Employment Studies (IES) found that 62 per cent of people aged 16 to 24 feel the pandemic has made it harder to find high-quality work – based on factors including environment, job security, and work-life balance.
The same percentage said the pandemic had impacted their confidence when it came to work. The report warned that despite a fall in unemployment since the pandemic – dropping 2.1 percentage points between 2020 and 2021 – coronavirus had led to a deterioration in working conditions. And while young people were not necessarily affected by the virus itself, the measures in response to it had caused them to miss out on educational and social opportunities.
At Heyllo we firming believe that these findings highlight a real risk that the pre-pandemic trend of the worsening quality of youth employment and challenges in accessing good jobs has become further entrenched, and that it is the our duty and the duty of those supporting young people (from government, to education, employers, and support services) to overcome them.
Serious staff shortages remain in the food and drink industry despite even more people being out of work compared with a year ago. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said there were 10% less unemployed people at the end of June, against the previous three months in the UK.
Employers in the hospitality sector are having to compete for staff, driving up wages. For years it has been an industry dominated by low pay and has struggled to be seen as an attractive industry with a strong career path and opportunities to develop. As a result, employers have relied on staff from EU countries where the industry is rated more highly, but many of those employees have returned to work in the EU since Brexit.
Once furlough has finally ended in the autumn we will have a clearer picture of the jobs market in Hospitality, but it will be very hard to untangle causes - what is a result of the pandemic, what has changed because of Brexit and what are long-term weaknesses in the economy. And whilst the three-month fall in unemployment is "very heartening", the same cannot be said for filling job vacancies in sectors such as hospitality.
This data shows that small firms need to recruit and retain staff to build their own economic recovery - which means that it is vital that businesses can access the people that they need to rebuild. We work with our clients in hospitality to support them attract and keep good quality, in many instances ‘local’, candidates. Many of whom have never worked in the sector before!
If you’re a hospitality business and need our support, we’d love to hear from you.
Job vacancies have hit their highest levels since records began with more than one million jobs up for grabs. The void has been created by Britain's departure from the European Union and Covid-19 restrictions, which some claim will have lasting damage on the labour market.
However, the rebound in hiring has also been met with a spike in jobseekers. Back in March 2020 there were 1.2 claimants per vacancy, but this has now almost doubled to 2.2 claimants per role in June 2021, according to new analysis from the Institute for Employment Studies. On the one hand it is great to see vacancy levels are back at a pre-pandemic peak. But on the other hand, there are still significantly more claimants chasing every job than before the pandemic, with more than eight jobseekers per job in over 40 local authorities.
This brings an underlying concern for the UK jobs market into sharp focus - many of the people currently out of work aren't matching up to the jobs on offer, despite an acute talent shortage. Therefore, we’ve gone from talking about an unemployment crisis to a ‘recruitment crisis’. But in reality, we’re facing a bit of both – with many of our clients struggling to fill jobs at the same time more than two millions people are struggling to find work.
The last 18 months have been transformative for the UK jobs market. Therefore, we’re consciously making an effort to work with our training partners to help our candidates develop the skills required to access the jobs now available. For instance, helping our candidates access ‘so called boom’ sectors’ such as tech, care, manufacturing, and logistics.
If you have hard to fill jobs please get in touch, our high-quality (agile) candidate pool is expanding all the time and ready to take on new challenges.
I spent time with a client today who is being severely affected by staff shortages caused by test and trace notifications, and he firmly believes that the problem will ‘only grow’ as lockdown rules ease.
Reading the news today it seems a number of high-profile employers and unions have warned that businesses could be forced to close because of staff shortages caused by people being told to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 app. As the last of the coronavirus restrictions in England ease today, these companies have said the country faces a “pingdemic” unless the government relaxes self-isolation rules for vaccinated individuals. Currently, the government is not due to relax self-isolation restrictions until 16 August. However, the number of people being told to self-isolate is already causing problems for some employers. During the first week of July, there were more than 500,000 alerts issued on the NHS Covid app in England and Wales asking people to stay home because they had come into contact with someone who had tested positive for coronavirus.
The problem with staff being ‘pinged’ is affecting all sectors, some report show that factories are on the verge of shutting and that at some sites, hundreds of staff are off work. In addition, some sectors such as manufacturing, health, hospitality, retail and public transport businesses are now living in fear of being pinged by the app as it would mean they would have to isolate and be unable to work. This in a time when businesses are doing their best to recover from a treacherous 18 months already!
What can we do to avoid a ‘pingdemic’ – be flexible by freeing up staff from less business-critical areas and using temporary workers where possible, maybe implement Covid-secure workplace policies, including the use of screens or barriers and mask wearing, despite the relaxation of official guidance. Or should we encourage people to work from home where possible, to reduce the number of contacts their staff have in the workplace or when travelling to work, or for roles where employees need to be in the workplace, organisations should continue using measures to reduce staff contact, such as staggered start and finish times. All these are the types of strategies that we’ll be looking into at Heyllo! to keep us up and running and supporting our clients and candidates.
Share your thoughts and stories with us at ADD.
In the news this week it was reported that the proportion of school leavers who got a job last year slumped to the lowest level for a decade amid the uncertainty caused by Covid. The latest official figures show that 47,454 pupils left school last summer, and that nine months after they left 66.5% were in Higher or Further Education, the highest since records began in 2009. However, in contrast the number in employment was down from 28% to 21.3%, the lowest figure since records began. Also more worryingly, the percentage of school leavers who were unemployed increased from 5.8% in 2018/19 to 6.8% for last year's leavers.
Over the past decade there has been a significant rise in the number of pupils staying at school beyond 16. Is this a good thing in itself? Or is the education system simply having to adapt to the fact that in the modern world there are fewer good jobs for young people, and that unskilled jobs are disappearing? It is an interesting philosophical question to contemplate - one quite distinct from the question of ensuring all young people can achieve their potential in education, regardless of wealth or family background. The suspicion of some has always been that the education system has had to soak up youngsters who might otherwise have been unemployed - either because of economic problems or the gradual disappearance of some unskilled jobs. Backed by the fact that the number of so-called NEETs ( youngsters who are ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training) is at a very low level by historic standards. So we return to the question: is a school system where it is unusual for a youngster to leave early and a college system which has to find places for those who would otherwise be unemployed achieving something positive in itself? Or is it merely parking the youth unemployment problem?
Few people would argue that educational opportunities should not be as widely available as possible. But the issue touches on an intriguing question. Once, it was possible to leave school with grades and get a job with prospects. Not so long ago, many good jobs were available to youngsters. Today, other than apprenticeships, most good jobs for young people require a college or university qualification first. So is the education system having to deal with the practical effect of economic change? De-industrialisation and automation mean many of the unskilled, entry level jobs once filled by school-leavers no longer exist. Or what changes are required to help to provide the workforce the economy needs?
The argument is that England, like every advanced country, needs as skilled a workforce as possible to compete internationally and fulfil its potential. A skilled workforce does not just mean turning out scientists and surgeons - it means hairdressers and staff for the hospitality industry too. Once, fewer people in those industries would have received any formal college training and might simply have learned on the job or served a traditional apprenticeship. But the argument is that a proper course and training raises standards and allows the best to shine. Anecdotally, of course, many of the genuinely unskilled jobs which those with few qualifications may once have done (say stacking shelves in the supermarket) are now done by students or those with college or university qualifications who find themselves "underemployed" . Indeed, while the number of young people at university is close to a historic high, a significant proportion of graduates do not secure what would be seen as graduate-level jobs even if few would do unskilled work for long. None of this is to suggest a good education is not of value in itself, even if it does not lead to someone getting a better job than they may have got otherwise. But perhaps it is interesting to reflect on how in the space of barely 40 years since the 1970s, the time someone routinely spends in education has increased. Once, a basic education ended at 15; and now really low numbers are leaving the educational system to take up jobs and apprenticeships.
Our team at Heyllo! are championing a campaign to help all young people ‘Feel Awesome’ and a core part of this campaign is to ensure all young people have the opportunity and chance to get high quality jobs and apprenticeships. If you want to join the campaign, you can pledge your support by signing up using this link https://www.heyllo.co.uk/pledge.html
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