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COVID-19 pandemic triggers crisis of confidence and self-belief among jobseekers

·3-min read
A Job Centre Plus in London. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA
A Job Centre Plus in London. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA

The majority of Brits do not believe there are jobs for them after the COVID-19 employment crisis triggered a major downturn in confidence.

Over half (51%) of jobseekers do not believe there is a job out there for them, while a similar number (52%) don't believe they’ll be successful, according to a survey of 2,000 by Indeed.

Overall, more than a quarter (26%) of jobseekers rated their self-belief levels as low and more than two in five (44%) don’t feel confident when it comes to searching and applying for jobs.

These figures increase to 40% and 63% respectively for unemployed jobseekers, suggesting joblessness significantly reduces an individual’s belief in securing one.

Almost half (47%) of unemployed jobseekers said their self-belief has reduced the longer they’ve been unemployed.

The research found gender and age gaps too, with women citing lower levels of self-belief in their job search compared to men – 38% versus 48% – and over 55s being the group least confident of finding a job.

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Almost half (48%) of jobseekers said high competition for jobs is the main thing that stops them feeling confident, while 44% said it’s due to a lack of jobs available to them.

Among those with low self-belief, the experience of having applied for jobs and receiving no feedback in the past (45%) and feeling like a failure (34%) significantly contributed to their low self-belief.

Over a fifth (22%) said their self-belief is constantly low and almost a quarter (24%) said it has decreased over the past six months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The results come as the nation faces one of the most challenging job markets in recent history.

A survey of 2,000 people by 3Gem found than one in five (21%) employed jobseekers are worried about being made redundant.

Meanwhile, the latest Office for Nation Statistics (ONS) data shows the largest annual fall in UK employment for a decade.

READ MORE: The UK sectors most likely to be hiring in 2021

Separate data from Indeed shows that since March competition for the average job has increased 42% and job vacancies have declined by -37% compared with last year.

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In addition, there are currently an estimated 60,000 people in the UK categorised as “discouraged” by the ONS. This means they want and are available to work but are not actively seeking as they don’t believe there are any jobs for them.

The figure has soared by 61% since the outbreak of the virus, the data shows.

This lack of confidence chimes with the majority (51%) of all jobseeker respondents who feel discouraged as they don’t believe there’s a job out there for them.

Adding to this, the health risks of COVID-19 mean nearly three in five (57%) jobseekers feel nervous at the thought of attending interviews and having close contact with others during a recruitment process.

Chris Hyams, CEO of Indeed, said: “COVID-19 turned the jobs market upside down and looking for work right now can feel challenging.

“With fewer opportunities because of the pandemic, many people have suffered a jolt to their confidence and feel they do not know where to turn to next in their search for work.

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