As the global community is striving to stop the spread of coronavirus and save lives that are at risk, they are forced to make tough decisions. The world today is running on survival mode amid lockdown, which has put many employees at risk of losing their jobs. In this article, we highlight key issues for UK employees in 2020 during the COVID19 outbreak.
Job Retention vs. Job Satisfaction
The past two years have been very tumultuous for UK employees. Increasing job dissatisfaction has led to decreasing worker productivity across almost all fields. A report published in ‘The Independent’ stated that as of January 2020, almost two-thirds of the UK workforce was hoping to switch jobs this year or the next. More than half of the respondents quoted unbearable stress as the main motivator behind the desire to switch jobs.
However, with the on-going crisis, job retention has job satisfaction as an employee priority. Currently, almost 24% of the workforce in the United Kingdom is at risk of losing their jobs due to the COVID19 lockdown. That means an astounding 7.6 million could find themselves unemployed by the end of the year.
The situation worsens as 23 to 29 percent of those at risk come from the 20 lowest income sub-regions across the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, people earning £10 per hour or lower are likely to get laid off first.
Accommodation, food services, eater utilities, construction, information, and communication industries seem to be the most impacted so far.
Health and Safety Concerns
The rising unemployment rate has implications that stretch far beyond those who have been laid off. Even the employees who manage to retain their jobs will suffer from prolonged anxiety and job insecurity.
The uncertain job market and these factors combined could lead to lower productivity and leave a negative impact on the worker’s mental well-being. In fact, almost 40% of workers in the United Kingdom claim their work has been affected due to the lockdown.
With the outbreak, it is no longer just about job security but also about health concerns. Around seven million (40%) of workers in the United Kingdom are concerned about their safety at work amid the pandemic. The concern is real, as only 20% of the UK’s workforce currently enjoys the liberty of being able to work from home.
Falling Economic Activity
2020 has seen a substantial drop in economic activity globally, and the United Kingdom reflects the global trend. UK’s economic activity is down by 30%, as almost 23% of businesses have either shut down or paused its operations during the lockdown.
Among those that continue operating, 60% report a significant drop in revenues. Though the statistics vary sector-wise, the overall impact is expected to result in a 9% drop in the UK’s Gross Domestic Product.
Measures by the Government
In May 2020, the UK government announced a potential roadmap to ease lockdown and take necessary steps to stabilize economic activity. The government also extended its Coronavirus employee retention scheme until October 2020. As per the scheme, the government will help employers cover almost 80% of the salaries.
The steps are necessary to ensure employee welfare since during just the first four weeks of lockdown, the government received 1.4 million applications for social welfare, highlighting unemployment as one of the key issues for UK employees in 2020 amid the COVID19 outbreak.