In Resource’s 30 years of helping unemployed members of the Jewish community find and secure work, without question this last year has been the toughest. Not just for our clients but for our professional volunteer advisors too, as it is their job to keep our clients motivated and positive to succeed in the job search. To them, it’s personal. So it’s a huge relief to be able to report some positive news at last.
In the last month we have been inundated with messages from clients reporting their success in finding employment. Many, like Jackie for example, have spent months getting nowhere and now suddenly finding they were being offered not one, but even a choice of jobs. As Jackie told me, “10 months and over 100 applications – and now two job offers! I start next Monday as HR manager at a large law firm … still can’t believe it!”
Why are the successes coming in thick and fast now? Although we continued to offer support day in day out – we did not miss a single day due to the pandemic – there are a number of things that have improved the outlook for job seekers. Undoubtedly the vaccine rollout seems to have given a boost in confidence to employees to return to the workplace, while at the same time encouraging employers to increase staff numbers now with fewer safety concerns. In many cases this return to offices has highlighted existing staff shortages, and organisations are now recognising this and taking steps to fill these gaps. And adding to this optimism was the opening up of retail, hospitality and leisure on 12 April, leading to a flurry of job opportunities. According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the services sector expanded at its fastest pace in more than seven years last month as shops, restaurants and pubs started to reopen after months of closure.
Will it continue? The signs are good. In their monthly Report on Jobs, produced jointly by KPMG and the REC, they state that permanent hires rose in April at the fastest rate since records began in 1997 and advertised vacancies grew more rapidly than at any point since 1998. The Confederation’s chief executive said “the jobs market is improving at one of the fastest rates we have ever seen … job creation is firing up again.”
To underline the positive outlook, the Bank of England last week revised its growth forecast for this year upwards to 7.25 per cent after contracting by a record 9.8 per cent. It also reduced its forecast for unemployment come the autumn to peak at 5.5 per cent from its forecast of 7.75 per cent three months ago thanks to the furlough extension from April to September, reckoned to save around 750,000 jobs.
At Resource we are seeing the Jewish community taking its share of the employment upturn. We have more jobs posted on our Jobs Board since before the pandemic, with an average of 30 – 40 opportunities posted each week, ranging from roles in administration, marketing and security to Research Analyst and Executive Director. As one of our clients who secured a business development role at an Experience Management firm explained, finding not just any job, but the right job is key, but an all-too elusive goal in the wake of the toughest job market for years:
“This means so much, as someone who has been striving for some time, for an opportunity and career path that fits my skills, personality and expectations. Without Resource – I don’t believe that I’d have the privilege of writing this today.”
It will of course be a long time before our advisors see a return to their pre-pandemic workload – perhaps to the turn of the year. But at least we now have excellent grounds for Jewish employment optimism.