There is too much uncertainty about the employment rates and numbers in the UK in light of the pandemic
The UK market reached an unpredictable stage with the exact unemployment numbers still unknown, and no one seems to have any clue about them. The unemployment rate is stable at 3.9%, which is where it was for the last eight months. However, various surveys were conducted to provide a better understanding of these numbers. Again, these were not very reliable since most of these surveys were handled over three months, so the information could be quite unreliable since things were changing in the UK fast. Furthermore, companies were not working out of their office, so handling meetings and getting the information from them was not easy.
The biggest challenge becomes that the actual state of the UK labour market is disguised by wage subsidies covering 9.1 million jobs. There has been a massive drop in the number of hours worked, which provides a glimpse of what is going on but a more accurate picture will become available by the end of August when employers will start making contributions toward the economy.
The International Monetary Fund is being optimistic and predicting a 10% decline in economic activity and employment. Job losses are likely to be concentrated in labour-intensive sectors. On the flip side, the Bank of England forecasts unemployment to rise from 4% to 9% will prove far too low. The jobless rate will hit 14% – 15%, with dole queues getting longer with plans of reaching 4 million.
With such a scary future, the UK Government was not sure how to handle their next steps and thought that the best way forward was slowly opening up the economy. The beginning of August saw small businesses like restaurants and bars opening up. They were hoping that people would use this as an opportunity to leave their homes. Companies and workplaces allowed people to start their jobs again, but they were not working at full capacity like they were in the past.
Furthermore, since the Government implemented social distancing rules, the employees could
not all visit the office, and they were taking turns to go into work, and only going if they had to, which led to the new normal that revolved around remote working.
Most companies were getting most of their work done through video calls and using the internet from home. They didn’t have much of a choice and were forced to if they wanted to work amidst a pandemic. However, some companies could not handle the same remote working experiences since their industry didn’t allow for it. Employers began going through the hiring process and started conducting background checks on people to make sure they did not have a criminal record. The most common test that they were using was the enhanced DBS check that gave them all the information about the employees past. This specific test can only be conducted by employers about their employees or prospective employees. Some jobs don’t require the same level of details when handling the test, so employers settled for the DBS check.