According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the number of unemployed people in Britain could soar to almost 15% of the working population if the country experiences a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. However, currently, the unemployment rate in the United Kingdom has stayed a static 3.9%, which is where it had been for the last three months before the pandemic as well.
The only reason that the statistics are staying stable is that the UK Government is bailing out a lot of the companies that are going through financial stress. They created an emergency wage subsidy scheme that assists companies to pay the salaries of their employees to avoid massive layoffs. They paid 80% of workers wages up to £2,500 per month with the company just having to make up for the difference, which is one of the reasons that a lot of companies kept the people that were working for them. They protected approximately 8 million jobs at about one million companies in the opening weeks of the programme.
Overall, companies began working on reducing costs, and a large number of people found themselves out of work since companies realised that they could replace them and have systems in place to handle their work. A lot of the administrative work is being handled by software and systems for automation. Everything considered, many companies will still be in the middle of a cash flow crisis and will struggle with any cost increases. The government faces a massive task in reducing their schemes without causing too much pain.
A large number of people are estimated to be temporarily away from work, including furloughed workers with approximately 7.5 million in June 2020 with over 3 million being away for three months and some for even longer. New analysis shows that the youngest, oldest, and those in manual or elementary occupations were most likely to be temporarily away from a job. There were also around 300,000 people away from work because of the pandemic and receiving no pay in June 2020. Although the statistics stay unchanged, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits increased since records began in April to reach almost 2.1 million. To add insult to injury, the Office for National Statistics said about 856,500 people signed up for universal credit and jobseeker’s allowance in April which only increased the overall UK claimant count by 69% in a single month.
With a lot of the work moved online and many employees working remotely, employers find themselves in a new place where they are conducting interviews online or just having the meetings that they would have in person, online. In some cases, this is significantly reducing the output of the company, which other companies seem to be doing just fine. Employers are now focusing on handling a CRB check on them. The CRB check has now improved and is called the DBS check, and there is a more thorough version of the same test that can be used on employees as well.