COVID-19 continues to send shockwaves through the UK jobs market, with increasing reports of hiring freezes, furloughs and redundancies. The Government has committed significant financial resources to help support employees and businesses, through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. And according to a new survey* we commissioned, while three-quarters (75 percent) of employees in the UK believe it will take years for the economy to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, over a half (55 percent) also say that the Government is doing a good job of cushioning the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That said, over half (53 percent) of employees say they are afraid of losing their job in the near future and 50 percent are worried that they will be forced to accept reduced working hours and salary.
Those working in small businesses (less than 50 employees) are far more worried (64 percent) than those in large businesses (500+ employees) (37 percent), perhaps hinting at less job protection in smaller firms. These worries are also more magnified among younger workers, with almost two-thirds (65 percent) of 16-24 year olds afraid of losing their jobs, compared to 39 percent of those aged 45 years old and above. This suggests that those early on in their careers don’t have the same sense of job security as more experienced peers.
Employees Willing To Make Sacrifices
Demonstrating the sacrifices that employees are willing to make to keep their job, 56 percent would rather take a lower salary, 68 percent would rather forgo a pay rise and 71 percent would rather be given no bonus than lose their job. However, while younger workers are willing to take a lower salary, it’s older workers that are more willing to sacrifice financial perks than their younger colleagues:
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing understandable anxiety within the UK workforce, with employees across the country, across all sectors, concerned over job security. What’s reassuring, however, is employees’ confidence in their employers’ efforts to protect jobs where possible: almost two-thirds of employees s in our survey say they trust their employer will do everything possible to avoid cutting jobs
For employers, the message from employees is loud and clear: take away our financial benefits before you take away our jobs. Employees are clearly willing to give up part of their salary, or financial rewards such as pay rises and bonuses, to prevent companies from having to lay off staff. This attitude, coupled with government support for businesses in the form of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – and more – are all lifelines to help businesses stay afloat during these challenging times and continue serving their respective communities.
*This survey, undertaken by Censuswide on behalf of Glassdoor, surveyed 1,002 UK employees between 2nd – 3rd April 2020.