Covid: I’ve lost my job during the pandemic – which sectors are hiring and how do I retrain?

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot

Words by ITV News Digital Content Producer Katherine Clementine

The labour market continues to take a hammering amid the coronavirus pandemic, with more people revealed to have been made redundant between August and October than at any point on record.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said redundancies reached a record high of 370,000 in the quarter, despite a slight fall in redundancy numbers in October.

And with the over-50s twice as likely as 18-to 24-year-olds to be unemployed a year after being made redundant, a big concern is whether those who fall out of work will ever get back in.

So, what jobs are available and how can you retrain?

Which sectors are hiring and what skills do they need?

The most in-demand role that UK companies want to hire for is a Customer Assistant, according to LinkedIn where "excellent communication and organisational skills" will be important and transferable from many other roles.

Charlotte Davies, LinkedIn Careers Expert, told ITV News: “We have recently identified the top 10 jobs that have experienced steady growth over the last several years with the highest number of openings and offering long-term stability. Some of these roles require digital skills, but many are actually far more reliant on soft skills."

Organisations with the most job openings according to LinkedIn

Statistics are correct as of December 11.

Despite redundancies coinciding with national lockdowns, the ONS reports that vacancies continued to recover in September to November 2020 with an estimated quarterly increase of 110,000 vacancies. The KPMG and REC UK Report on jobs for November showed a decrease in starting salaries of temporary and permanent workers, which may have been initiated by the lack of labour demand and an increase in available candidates.

The hotel and catering and retail sector saw the biggest fall in both permanent and temporary vacancies, whereas IT and computing and engineering sectors experienced high demand for permanent roles. High demand for temporary workers was experienced by blue-collar jobs.

Thousands of jobs have been let go in 2020 - but there are still vacancies to apply for. Credit: PA

What if I need to change careers?

“Being made redundant is never easy, but it can be particularly difficult and destabilising for older workers who may not have changed jobs for a while," Ms Davies told ITV News.

"With financial pressures - such as mortgages and supporting a family - to potentially having to leave a career they feel well established in, there are many factors to consider.

"And all job seekers, at every stage of their career, are also facing an extremely competitive jobs market.

"On LinkedIn we’re seeing three times as many people applying for every role compared to last year. "

LinkedIn list 10 jobs found to have the greatest number of job openings, with steady growth over the past four years, pay a liveable wage, and require skills that can be learned online. They are:

  • Software developer

  • Sales development representative

  • Project manager

  • IT Administrator

  • Customer service specialist

  • Digital marketer

  • IT Support/Help Desk

  • Graphic designer

  • Financial analyst

  • Data Analyst

Credit: PA

I'm over the age of 50 - do I still have a chance at getting a new job?

"Older workers are a huge asset to employers across our country," Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP told ITV News.

She added: "Our Plan for Jobs is helping people of all ages back into employment.

"We are doubling the number of front-line Work Coaches in our Jobcentres, and introducing retraining schemes. Our JETS, job finding support and targeted help at DWP is wide ranging to help support people who have lost their jobs get back into work quickly."

Almost 400 free courses are also being offered to adults without a full A-Level or equivalent qualification from April 2021 as part of the Department for Education's Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

Gillian Keegan, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, said: "Tens of thousands of adults are expected to benefit from the offer next year which includes a wide range of qualifications that are valuable across the economy and in multiple sectors including engineering, health, digital, construction and accountancy. “On top of this, our National Careers Service advisers are also on hand to provide personalised advice and guidance on possible future career options and The Skills Toolkit offers free online high quality courses to help boost digital and numeracy skills that are highly desired by employers. As we build back better, we will make sure that people across the country have the chance to get the skills they need to progress.”

Jobseekers - need tips and advice on what to do next?

Jobs website Indeed has put together a guide for finding work fast - even amid the pandemic.

They recommend that the first - and perhaps most important - step is learning how to optimise your job search.

Indeed urges jobseekers to freshen up their CVs immediately - particularly if you were in your last job a while.

It says: "Write a fresh list that catalogues your job experience, education and skills, remembering to add any recent achievements and being sure to spare any modesty. From there, you can look for positions you’re qualified for across your industry.

"Apply for every relevant job, and don’t be afraid to widen the search to sectors where your skills might transfer. For example, if you’re a sales rep, you could actually be a great fit for business development or marketing jobs."

LinkedIn offer similar advice, to identify your transferable skills. They say: "As you go through job descriptions for new roles, don’t be put off if you lack some of the specific skills they ask for. Think about how the skills you already have could be applied.

"For example, you may lack direct management experience - but you may have mentored a new colleague at the same level as you, or 'managed upwards' when dealing with senior colleagues."

LinkedIn also recommend applying quickly - applying "within the first 10 minutes of receiving a relevant job notification can increase your chances of hearing back by up to 4x", they add.