Redemption for Redundant Recruiters in the UK?

It’s hard to start articles at the moment. I’m reticent to rattle off the same tagline prefacing every internet statement. The… “Theses are strange times…” or more common, and more ominous “unprecedented times…”

But they are.

And last week I’d imagine, was close to the worst week in recruitment for a large percentage of recruiters reading this.

This week’s probably a close second.

Probably for a large percentage of non-recruiters too. So as not to alienate. 

It’s understandable, if not lamentable, a lot of companies acted swiftly in reducing headcount, and therefore cost base, in a bid to make sure there was a company left at the end of this.

And as totally shitty as it is being let go, there may be solace in the sheer number of people in the same boat. I know, solace won’t pay the bills.

But no one likes making people redundant.

No one dreams of shattering someone’s existence. It’s a really shit thing to do. And there’s never much of a choice. Yes, you could say some businesses aren’t run well, and you’d be right.

But there’s a completely different reality for every business on the planet.

Every businesses’ ethos, cashflow, management, investors, stage of growth, footprint and people make an unparalleled equation.

One thing that does tend to do well in times of trouble however is making hard decisions swiftly.

Hence… last week.

Naturally though, emotions were running high. LinkedIn was a strange place. And the biggest of insights for me was the unity.

It seems like a lifetime ago we all hated each other. The reds versus the blues. When every post was dyed in the wool and tinged in politics, either defending or slating the government. Now, for the briefest of moments at least, we’re all on the same side.

So that’s something worth celebrating, if only a small consolation.

After the sheer scale of redundancies obvious from the outside last week, I delved into the back catalogue of articles to see what I’d written that might help.

There was this article.

But that’s advice for leaving a business due to a less than stellar performance. So probably not fit for purpose.

At the same time I was scrabbling around for guidance however, someone stepped up in the background.

Surprisingly in this case, it was the aforementioned government.

This time, not splitting opinion.

Nor asking for a national vote on a whimsical idea.

This time, they had a decision.

A bail out.

From Mr Rishi Sunak, first of his name.

Whooop de dooo… what does it all mean Basil?

We’re here to find out.

The first thing I need to mention here is that this legislation is being defined as we speak. And it’ll almost certainly change by the end of the week. But as current (Tuesday 08:00 GMT) conditions have it, here’s what we know…

“Furloughed workers will be given 80% of salary up to £2,500″… huh?!

I know what you’re thinking, WTF does furloughed mean? You’ve got our cousins across the pond to thank for the confusion. But basically, a furloughed worker is someone who stops working.

According to the Government website, “under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.”

All UK businesses are eligible. 

And the cap’s £2,500 per month, per person.

Now for the weird bit… To qualify for this scheme “you should not undertake work for your employer while furloughed”.

Nor, as far as I understand it, are you able to accept any other offer of employment and continue getting the grant. Fairly obviously, because that would literally be free money you don’t need.

How do you go about becoming a furloughed worker?

Your employer should be in touch to discuss it. Ideally they already have. But don’t worry if they haven’t. Even now the details for this scheme are being ironed out. And the portal to apply hasn’t been set live yet.

If you recruit Front End Devs, why not stick a BD call in? See if you can speed it up for the masses?

And hey, despite all the grey areas, at least you’ve got a first point of action now.

If your last employer hasn’t called you yet, give them a bell. 

Redemption for Redundant Recruiters in the UK

Why can’t I actually do work for my company?

I know it sounds odd. Especially in something called ‘The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’. With the words job and retention in the title, you’d think you’d be gearing up to work again.

And it seems baffling to bring in a scheme to pay workers to do nothing, right?

Especially when, right now, you’d probably like something to do with your days.

Well, think about people taking advantage of this system.

One could, if they were so inclined, declare huge amounts of staff ‘furloughed’ and have the government pay their wage bill, whilst still benefitting from their effort.

So it’s almost certainly a preventative measure to stop manipulation of the scheme.

Why can’t I work elsewhere?

You can.

As far as I know, you’re very much able to gain employment by other means and continue your career, should that be possible for you.

Have a chat with management to see how likely it is you’ll be re-employed when this is over. Because if that’s definitely not going to happen, you’ve essentially got the freedom to find a new job. With a security blanket to keep you warm.

Only, if this is something you plan to do, you won’t be able to continue on the Furloughed Worker’s Scheme.

I can’t tell you for a fact, you won’t have to pay any grants back, should you find work after the first payment, but I’d say it’s unlikely.

And let’s be clear, this isn’t a 3 month grant to sit on your backside and get a tan.

If you’re smart, you’ll use it to know you’re safe from the streets and make sure you’ve got a job for when it’s over. Be that with the company you’ve left or another.

Cough, Hunted has jobs aplenty for recruiters.

Take advantage and chill out for three months and you’ll be worse off for it. Not only financially, but psychologically too.

Naturally for some, another job won’t be possible. If that’s the case, this website has a list of other things you can request to help pay the bills.

Things like Universal Credit, to help you pay your rent, even if you’re a sole trader or self employed. And from April 6th, the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed and last for the duration of the outbreak.

“Whether you are currently in or out of work, if you are on a low income and affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, you will be able to access the full range of the welfare system, including Universal Credit.” UK Government.

What are my options if I want to keep working?

One of the most frustrating sights in recruitment is brilliant recruiters leaving the industry because they’re fed up of one environment.

So let me tell you something before we carry on here…

There are jobs in recruitment right now.

And you’ll probably be able to get a job, if you want one.

Whether that’s now, or after a period of furloughed worker status. Finding a job in a recession is about being agile enough to follow the market. About shifting your skillset and your mindset and sniffing out the demand.

I rarely promote Hunted in this blog, but I feel like now’s a good time to do so.

Hunted still has hundreds of jobs for recruiters.

If of course you want to continue being a recruiter.

If you don’t, click here.

There’s an absolutely mammoth list of things you could do following a career in recruitment. Also, don’t be fooled into thinking you’re a failed recruiter if you leave.

When we’re all old and grey, the idea of having one career over the course of your life will not only be antiquated, but boring too. “Imagine being one thing for the entirety of your life? How old fashioned.”

And don’t think moving on will mean you’re starting at the bottom of the ladder, either.

I was a recruiters for 7 years. So naturally, that’s helped me a bit in my current job of writing about recruitment. But I’d also say most recruiters I know are versatile as f…udge.

Recruitment’s not really even one skillset. It’s loads, put together and honed constantly. You’re in better shape than you think, even if you’ve been a recruiter your entire career.

Redemption for Redundant Recruiters in the UK

What if I want to help?

Stop leaving your house. That’s the best way to help.

That includes walks in the park, visiting your mates, going to the office, and any form of doing anything that’s not inside.

The second best thing to do?

Get a job. And yes, it is that simple. It could be a temporary contract working for a supermarket? They need people to restock shelves, or deliver shopping. They’re interviewing and hiring the same day, and you’d be helping the economy and your local network.

Or you could obviously do something which is possible from home.

Like recruitment.

But the initial worry of paying your rent or mortgage should be taken care of. This is an unprecedented move by a UK government. Make it count.

The world’s soon going to need brilliant recruiters more than ever.

That’s you, isn’t it?