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Spotlight on Redundancy: A Practical Guide to Finding Your Feet Again

09 Jul 2024 |

By Rosa von Fürstenberg and Samantha Daniels

Spotlight on Redundancy

It’s those 6 words we all dread to hear: “your role has been made redundant.”

Sadly, the market in 2024 has meant that these words have become an unfortunate reality for many people, as a result of economic downturn or pre-emptive strikes by companies to protect their bottom lines. Universities and architectural firms are two of the sectors affected, and Guide Dogs UK, a charity, just announced 160 redundancies, equivalent to 9% of its workforce.

The economy has seen encouraging signs of growth and recovery in recent weeks – including the recent news that London has once again become the largest stock market in Europe, and an increase in hiring activity compared to the start of the year. Despite this there are still many candidates in the market who have gone through, or are going through, the redundancy process.

So, what are some practical first steps that we can take when faced with redundancy?

1. Your mindset: Using a positive mental attitude helps turn a negative situation into a positive one. Redundancy is a setback, not the end of the world, and is not personal – it's your role that has been made redundant, and not you personally. Find activities that do you good and pursue them, and shy away from those that leave you feeling down. 

2. Resources: There are many online seminars, lectures and guides that help you handle your situation, upskill and cope with adversity. Try Coursera, Google’s free teaching platform (https://www.coursera.org/), and consider looking into resources that help you with your mental health such as mind (https://www.mind.org.uk/).

3. Your finances: Move quickly to put a plan into action to reduce your costs and get in control of your outgoings as an immediate first step. First, assess your financial situation, look at all accounts and savings, and make sure that your basics are covered. Identify costs that can be reduced or removed – such as non-essential subscriptions, gym memberships and similar. Consider applying for universal credit (https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/how-to-claim) and ask for forbearance with your mortgage company or other firms that invoice you. Now might be a good time to declutter by selling superfluous items such as clothing, furniture, jewellery, and toys.

4. Plan: This is an ideal time to assess where you are in your career and decide where you want it to go next in an ideal world. While you won’t always achieve your dream scenario, it helps to have one in mind – otherwise there is no chance of getting there, at all! You will have a higher chance of being successful and creative with your applications if the roles you are pursuing are what you really want.

Looking to the Future - The Next Step of Your Career

It can be daunting to consider your next career move, particularly if you had not planned on doing this quite yet. However, this can be a fantastic opportunity for you to upskill, seek a better opportunity and advance your career! Think about the following when considering your next move:

1. Industry sector: If you decide to move away from the industry that you are currently in, research the industries that are currently experiencing growth, or are actively hiring at present.

2. Role: Investigate how transferrable your experience might be to other roles that are actively being recruited in the current market. If you are missing some key skills or experience, investigate how you can acquire these – courses, workshops and possibly temping, for example.

3. Entrepreneurship: If you’ve got it in you, now is the time to try your luck in entrepreneurship. Some of the world’s most successful businesses have been set up during periods of economic uncertainty – such as Hewlett-Packard in the 1930s, Microsoft in the mid-1970s, Mailchimp in 2001 and start-ups including Uber, Airbnb and Groupon in the Great Recession of 2007 – 2009. If you have had a business idea in the back of your mind, now could be a great time to explore this!

4. Become a digital nomad: Since the pandemic, our ways of working have changed dramatically. You may find that working abroad, or remotely, is possible and rewarding, and the cost-of-living costs may be lower. Remember that you may need to form a company and become a self-employed contractor, as it is unlikely that you can work on a UK payroll.

5. Return to study: Whether it's to finally get that Bachelor's degree, or explore post-graduate courses, now could be a great time to explore this if you have the available funding (self funded or via loan options)!

The UK industries with the lowest redundancy rate (as of April 2024):

Industry Redundancy Rates

Source: IF Magazine

Practical steps to start the search for a new role

Once your CV and LinkedIn profile have been updated, follow these steps to increase your chances of securing your next role:

1. Contact any good recruiters that you have worked with in the past. Be mindful of their time, but stay in friendly contact and be on their radar.

2. Expand your reach on LinkedIn. Share relevant content, comment on key individuals’ posts, and contact any recruiters who have tried to headhunt you in the past.

3. Be proactive and go the extra mile. When job postings are limited, newly posted adverts can often receive several hundred applications in their first hours of posting, and many of the applicants do not have relevant experience required for the role. Be realistic and patient, and continue to apply for roles while also reaching out directly to agencies.

4. Consider temping and / or contracting. This is an excellent way ‘in’ and means you could be first in line should a permanent role come up at that company.

As hard as it sounds, this is the time to be resilient and not let your attitude drop – stay positive, be patient and don’t lose hope. Speak to family, friends, and those around you to keep your spirits up – and don’t give 100% of yourself to your job search!

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

To end on a positive note, the recruitment market – while still challenging – has seen signs of improvement in Q2 and moving into Q3. While many factors can suddenly change the economy and recruitment market – political change being one – there is room for cautious optimism for the second half of 2024.

Get in touch with the VWA Team Today:

Contact us

If you’d like to hear more about our services or anything covered in this article, or would like to make an enquiry, you can also reach out to recruit@vwa.com.





London Stock Exchange becomes Europe's largest stock market again - BBC News

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