Recent news does not make great reading as the ONS reports that there have been 819,000 job losses in the UK since the start of the pandemic. You can read the article, ‘Hospitality worst affected as unemployment rises again‘ here. It is now a case of when, not if, this number exceeds one million as we head into the critical trading period for most consumer businesses, with significant swathes of the country in tier 3 lockdown. The sectors most significantly hit by unemployment are hospitality and retail, which ultimately supports many of Red Tiger Talent’s clients.
Some of you may not know about this blog’s title ‘Gizza job’ which references a phrase commonly used in 1980’s Liverpool based series Boys from the Blackstuff, a desperate plea from those on the dole. Whilst the current economic downturn is certainly showing a two year high in unemployment rate (at around 5%) it is nowhere near that seen in the early 1980s (when in 1982 it peaked at 13%).
This current unemployment is disproportionately hitting the working class and younger workers. Red Tiger Talent contributed in a very small way by taking a decision against a backdrop of zero recruitment revenue, to add a new member to our team with our apprentice Meg in September. We also work with a freelancer to help with marketing strategy and campaigns, an area of business that we could have put on hold to save money. We could see that in order to get through this we needed to invest and to free up some of our time for what we do best.
Take Me Out
It is fair to say that Red Tiger Talent’s recruitment income dropped off a cliff for the last six months as a direct result of the pandemic. In February 2020, nearly halfway through our financial year, Paul and I reset a stretch target that would have resulted in our best year yet by a country mile. This was after four years of hard work to firmly establish ourselves as the trusted recruitment partner for clients and candidates in the UK analytics market. Needless to say, we didn’t get anywhere near our original target.
I often refer to our experience in March 2020 as a bit like going on the dating show Take Me Out. Red Tiger Talent had many lights illuminated (not potential dates, but active roles) and then in an instant they were all switched off as our clients rightly put their recruitment plans on hold. In my mind this included the comedy noise as one by one every opportunity disappeared.
This quieter period was a bit of a godsend, Paul and I could drop down the pace of life a bit, supporting our families through the pandemic, and work-wise we were able to divert time to improving our database, and develop new propositions, notably Training and Coaching; more on that later.
Recruitment freezes are finally thawing
Since November 2020, Red Tiger Talent (recruitment) has never been busier. We have been inundated with live roles and the pipeline into 2021 looks very healthy. After a period of inactivity we have a number of new people starting roles in the first quarter of 2021.
I think the phrase to describe the general sentiment of businesses is ‘cautiously optimistic’ – those of our clients that have had recruitment freezes are now able to recruit for specific roles where there is need. Businesses are also very conscious of the impact increased workload has on existing teams who are typically having to work remotely.
Being an analytics professional gives me extra cause for optimism – never before have we had such a perfect storm of significant structural changes in the way people shop/eat/play/work in a business world where most are looking to data and analytics to provide the insight needed to emerge on the other side.
We mustn’t underestimate the news of a vaccine rollout has positively impacted on business and consumer sentiment. This has given renewed optimism that the end of the current restrictions will happen sometime in 2021.
We are also finding that candidates are more optimistic. Early in the pandemic, a number of potential candidates had an understandable reluctance to move roles due to the uncertainty in the market. We are now seeing a number of candidates re-ignite their quest for a fresh challenge as they don’t want to allow this pandemic to stall their career progression any further.
Training to expand your skills
We identified a need for training in Microsoft Excel; this incredible versatile piece of software is used across many departments, but few people have had formal training on the extent of its capabilities. We have now trained over 200 people on Excel for Analytics, from absolute beginners to experts, and every participant has learnt something new.
The feedback speaks for itself and we will be rolling out our 2021 training schedule early next year.
Coaching to stand out from the crowd
To use a sporting analogy, consider you are a runner and your objective is purely to win the race. If you are the only competitor in the race then you may not require any help in ensuring that you meet your objective of winning. The only chance of you not meeting your objective is if you failed to complete the race.
If you are in a competitive field of 10 runners then surely you would try everything in your power to ensure that you win the race? Fail to prepare and prepare to fail. The most successful professional athletes have specific coaches for different areas that can impact performance e.g. fitness coach, conditioning coach, mental coach, sprint coach etc.
This is the reason why we created Red Tiger Coaching. Our proven coaching ethos is to support people on their career pathway with timely, cost effective support to ensure they stand out from the crowd at the various stages of the job search process. If you are interested in finding out more please get in touch.
Steps towards a brighter future
Hopefully this blog has provided you with optimism from both a candidate and hiring managers perspective.
If you are one of the unfortunate people who have been or are likely to be impacted by redundancy then we can offer the following tips:
- Don’t panic and take time to reflect – think about your previous career successes and what motivates you. Defining roles that are likely to trigger these motivations can be beneficial; in the application or interview stage it will be easier to sell yourself, and when you are successful you will find yourself motivated in your role.
- Plan and set yourself targets before you execute on your search – it is important that you divide up your daily tasks in order to keep things fresh. Whilst the end goal is to get a new job, set yourself small weekly/daily/monthly targets along the way e.g. job applications per week, new connections on LinkedIn, identification of new businesses that you would like to work for, refresh your CV. These ‘marginal’ gains will make a difference in the long run.
- Stand out from the crowd – this is a wide topic and worthy of multiple blogs but its everything from the application process (application form, CV, cover letter), the interview process, to unlocking the ‘hidden’ job market (i.e. circumventing those roles that have large amounts of applicants).
- Consider using a coach – ‘You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime’ (sorry Eminem!). Our coaches make a tangible difference and our solutions range from a couple of hours help to a three month transition engagement – speak to us if you are interested in finding out more.
If you or your business are recruiting:
- Be prepared to be inundated – with many people chasing relatively few roles you will tend to get a wide diversity and large volume of people applying. Whether they are the right candidates remains to be seen. Some candidates, in full on panic mode, are adopting the mud-slinging approach – if you throw enough at the wall then something will inevitably stick. You will receive applications where you really have to question whether the applicant actually read the job specification!
- Don’t underestimate the time required – Reviewing CVs can be time consuming, and soul destroying if you have a large pile to review! Similarly, sitting through a number of interviews which are short of the mark is extremely frustrating. Think about your filtering process in order to ensure that it’s only a handful of quality candidates that make it to a face to face (or video call in the new world!) stage.
- Consider using a specialist agency – Recruiters, like Red Tiger Talent, will help by reducing your workload and providing a selection of vetted, qualified candidates that go straight to interview (blatant plug!).
We’ve written loads of other blogs about many of the subjects discussed here so take a look around for tips on interview techniques and interviewing, updating your LinkedIn profile and How to stand out from the crowd, to name just a few.
We hope that our predictions are correct and that the employment market will continue to improve. And we also hope that you are all ready and raring to embrace that change, whether you are a business or an employee.
We’d love to hear from you even just for a chat to hear how things are going for you. If you would like to talk to us about anything you’ve read here, please give me a call on 07979 756 257 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a no obligation chat about your options and how we might be able to help you.