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Coronavirus: Over 70% of UK workers currently reassessing their career options

Kalila Sangster
·3-min read
Two-fifths of employees said the coronavirus had not impacted their confidence in their career prospects, according to a study. Photo: Getty
Two-fifths of employees said the coronavirus had not impacted their confidence in their career prospects, according to a study. Photo: Getty

Over 70% of UK workers are currently reassessing their career options despite high levels of job insecurity and rising unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic, a study has found.

Almost a quarter (24%) of employees are actively searching for a new role, according to the latest research by international recruitment consultancy Robert Half UK.

This is despite the latest employment update from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that job vacancies fell to a record low in April ⁠— suggesting that the jobs market is likely to become increasingly competitive as a result of rising levels of unemployment in the short term

Two-fifths (42%) of employees said the coronavirus had not impacted their confidence in their career prospects. A further 14% said they felt more positive about their career prospects now compared with before the pandemic, suggesting confidence in the UK’s economic recovery and optimism brought on by the easing of lockdown restrictions.

The coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on workers’ priorities and views on the workplace and the way they work as 28% said they are assessing their work-life balance and considering alternative options.

READ MORE: Furlough number hits 9.3 million days before cut off

Over half of respondents said they were contemplating a new career path with only 28% saying they are happy in their current role.

Across Europe and the UAE, workers’ sentiment mirrors that of UK employees — 66% feel their longer-term career prospects are unaffected by COVID-19, although 53% are worried about losing their current job as a result of the pandemic in the short term.

Over half (57%) think working from home offers a better work-life balance and 80% would like to continue working from home post-coronavirus as avoiding a daily commute saves time and money.

“The term ‘unprecedented times’ has been used a lot over the last few months to describe the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Matt Weston, managing director of Robert Half UK.

“The implications of these ‘unprecedented times’ for business owners and employees alike, however, are not only being felt now but will likely influence working practices and recruitment planning well into the future, given the strength of worker sentiment we’re seeing expressed here.

READ MORE: UK business confidence still near record low

“Whilst no-one knows precisely what the post-pandemic future will bring, the silver lining is that we're all discovering new ways of working together.

“With many businesses re-opening their offices and beginning to navigate a path back to normality — or, at least, the next ‘new normal’, post-pandemic — the need for companies to evolve their flexible working policies and practices; (re)assess employees’ core skills, competencies and behaviours in response to evolving business priorities; and foster a supportive and inclusive workplace culture in order to retain and attract the best talent has arguably never been more urgent.”