Nearly half of UK companies will furlough between 75% and 100% of their workforce over the next week because of coronavirus, according to a survey.

The British Chambers of Commerce revealed 32% of businesses will temporarily lay off staff. And that a majority of firms had just three months of cash or less in reserve as companies across the country suffer a sharp fall in sales and lockdown measures weigh. The Treasury has estimated that about 3 million people, or 10% of the private sector workforce, would be laid off temporarily.

If you’re worried about whether you have a job to go back to, you might be wondering if you should be embarking on a search. After all, if you are stuck at home and not able to work, you may want to use that time productively to explore alternative options.

Winners and losers

The key is not to be discouraged. Of course, some sectors are disproportionately taking a hit – high street retail, leisure, travel, charities, the car industry, estate agency and some construction to name a few.

However others such as supermarkets, home care, delivery companies such as Amazon, and pharmacies are hiring in the tens of thousands as this BBC article suggests. If you have just lost your job, you could do worse than put in an application to keep the wolf from the door in the short-term. Companies offering the means for employees to work from home such as Zoom, Slack and Trello are experiencing exponential growth.

We’re also seeing positive news stories every day of companies pivoting their products to support the virus efforts. Dyson is making ventilators. Gin makers are making hand sanitiser.

We should also remember that even before Brexit there were skills shortages – and if you have these skills, employers will still be looking out for good people to join them.

What you can do

  1. Strategise. Before you launch straight in with job search tactics, first strategise about what you want to offer and to whom? Assess your skills, strengths and professional interests. Consider taking transferable skills such as accountancy skills and changing sector or switching to a company which is well resourced (You should always check the annual report on Companies House of any employer you are considering). Perhaps consider a medium sized company over a bigger well known one. Statistics show they hire more people than big companies. Time spent prioritising here will save you time and energy later.
  2. Activate your network. Reconnect with people you have worked with and family and friends and update them of your current situation. Rekindling these connections will lift your spirits and they can be looking out for opportunities for you.
  3. Develop yourself. Make a list of technologies, skills and areas of knowledge that you have been meaning to develop and find courses on virtual platforms like LinkedIn learning. LinkedIn learning offers a 30 day free trial. You can add these to your CV and make yourself more employable. Noticed that everyone’s moved to Zoom these days? Zoom’s got some online tutorials for that. Read the financial press and read discussions in LinkedIn groups to stay ahead of the curve. It will impress your next employer if you do.
  4. Learn how to do video interviews. Prepare your answers in the usual way but research your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile to find something in common as an ice-breaker. Check your background is plain and your lighting is good so you can seen clearly. Test your camera and keep looking at it throughout – you got to maintain that eye contact and not show them the crown of your head if you look down to take notes. And finally, take advantage of the fact that you can put key points on post-its and dot them either side of your camera. You don’t have to remember everything you need to say!
  5. Reduce your expenditure. Apply for any benefits which you are entitled to.
  6. Take the long view. It’s likely to be a marathon not a sprint so pace yourself and remind yourself “this too shall pass”. You don’t have control over the job market or the recruitment cycle, but you can and should be playing your part to let employers know you exist. The only sure way to not get a job is to stop applying.

Keeping a positive mental attitude

Finally if being stuck at home is taking a strain on your mental health there are steps you can take to safeguard your mental health.

  • Create routines in your day and if you can, take a walk and get fresh air
  • Look for work, but don’t obsess over it
  • Don’t constantly consume news about the pandemic, especially at night so you can sleep
  • Agree regular times to connect with friends and family on What’s App, Skype or by phone.
  • And if this isn’t working, consider talking with a professional.


If you are considering finding a new job and wish to explore potential options and next steps, you can always book a free 40 minute consultation with us to talk it through. Click here to find a convenient time for you.


I’m also interested in hearing your experiences of recruitment and hiring during this coronovirus outbreak. If you send them to me, I’ll collate the themes and update this blog as soon as I am able to help others navigate their job searches too. Thanking you in advance.



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