The UK unemployment rate just hit a two-year high. Here’s what you need to know about the crisis, and where to go for support and advice.
What’s happening to the UK unemployment rate?
First, what do we know about the UK’s unemployment rate? In all honesty, it makes for gloomy reading. But here’s what’s happening:
- According to official figures, the unemployment rate hit 4.1% in July.
- The number of unemployed young people (aged 16-24) rose by around 76,000.
- By autumn, around 735,000 Britons may be unemployed.
How did we get here? Well, we can blame the coronavirus pandemic, and here’s why:
- School and uni leavers often work in retail or hospitality. These industries suffered serious damage during the lockdown, and they’re only just on the road to recovery.
- According to ABTA, at least 39,000 travel sector jobs are at risk.
- Rolling quarantines and travel restrictions will put even more pressure on the travel industry.
- Local lockdowns could endanger more jobs.
Sorry, we warned you that it’s depressing out there. And with the UK government’s furlough scheme ending on 31 October, we can assume that more redundancies are on the horizon.
So if you’ve been made redundant or you’re worried about your job, what happens next?
Don’t panic. Seriously. Yes, this is a hugely stressful time, but there’s help available.
Who can help me if I’m unemployed?
Let’s be clear on the three things you may need help with:
- Money worries
- Emotional support
- Finding another job
Let’s break this down some more.
Worried about your personal finances? Contact Citizens Advice in the first instance. They can help you contact creditors and set up payment plans, if necessary. What’s more, they’ll help you work out if you’re entitled to benefits like Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance.
You can also check out our handy guide to who you can contact for bill relief.
Here’s a bonus tip: if you’ve lost your job due to the pandemic, you could ask your lender for a mortgage holiday. It’s not the right option for everyone, but it might buy you some time to get another job or sort your finances.
Redundancy is traumatic, there’s no doubt about it. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
- Tell family and friends how you’re feeling. They’ll want to support you.
- If you’re a union member, see if your union can offer support.
- Contact charities or organisations like Mind, Anxiety UK or Samaritans.
Remember, there’s unemployment support out there for you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t go it alone.
Finding another job
Unless you plan on retiring, you’ll probably need another job. But where do you find one right now? Don’t worry. There are opportunities out there. You just need to find them.
- Update your CV. If you don’t know how, websites like Reed have free guides.
- Join recruitment agencies.
- Speak to the National Careers Service.
- Check for opportunities on social media sites like LinkedIn.
- Take on a side hustle for extra cash right now.
- Are you aged between 16 and 24? You could apply for the UK government’s Kickstart Scheme. The program aims to help thousands of young people get into work. Jobs should open up across England, Scotland, and Wales, so check it out if you can.
When it comes to finding a new job, perseverance is key.
What if I’m worried about my job?
If you’re worried your job is at risk, make a financial contingency plan.
- Cut back on unnecessary spending.
- Build up your savings, if you can.
- Pay your credit cards off if possible.
- Don’t take out new credit.
You can also follow much of the advice given above. Don’t hesitate to ask for emotional support if you need it, and it never hurts to keep your CV up to date and ready.
Although unemployment is rising right now, the trend won’t last forever. As the UK recovers from the pandemic’s impact, we should see a slow – but sure – uptick in employment figures.
And finally, remember one thing: there’s support out there. You’re not alone.
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