Employment & Unemployment Issues During Coronavirus

Whatever our employment status, many of us are facing uncharted territory. This guide deals with job hunting, employment and unemployment issues during coronavirus, including where to find useful information and advice.

Regardless of skill, qualifications or effort, people are either losing their jobs or finding their careers are hanging in the balance, with the vast majority of UK businesses flailing or frozen amid the spread of coronavirus.

If you’ve had your hours reduced, lost work or are struggling to find a role it is absolutely not your fault. This is an unprecedented situation and governments around the world are scrambling to help individuals and businesses until normality returns.

This guide includes the very latest advice gathered from reputable sources, including GOV.UK – which should be your first port of call for any coronavirus-related information – and we’ll continue to update this page with new info as it becomes available.


In order to avoid mass unemployment, the government is requesting that businesses who cannot afford to pay their staff ‘furlough’ their employees, instead of laying them off. This means your employer can get a grant to cover 80% of your monthly earnings, up to £2,500.

So, if you lost your job due to coronavirus after 28 February 2020, it’s well worth going back to your employer to see if you could be furloughed instead. The government pays the grant directly to your employer, even though you’re not working.

If you have more than one job, you can be furloughed by one employer and continue to work for another, if it is permitted in your employment contract. If you’re furloughed by multiple employers, you’ll receive separate payments from each employer.

For more information, visit this page on GOV.UK:
Check if your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme


Job hunting

Many companies have recruitment freezes in place to protect their finances and their existing staff, so it is extra hard to get hired, but there are exceptions. You need to be strategic and avoid (for now) sectors that have been hit hard, such as travel, hospitality and events, and turn your attention to companies that are likely to be hiring extra staff to cope with increased demand. These will include businesses specialising in food production, groceries, and essential household goods, pharmaceuticals, chemists, healthcare, insurance, and telecoms companies.

There’s a comprehensive list rounded up in this BBC article but you should also use LinkedIn to find work and alter your settings so recruiters and employers know you’re looking.

For a simple, thorough guide to making your LinkedIn profile work for you, sign up to our newsletter and you can access our LinkedIn Hack Pack – it takes you through setting up an impressive profile, how to use LinkedIn as a jobseeker and how to grow your network effectively.

Scroll to the bottom of any page and click on the button that looks like this:


Expect to have to do job interviews by phone and video. We have a useful guide on how to do successful remote interviews here.

Find out more on job hunting during the pandemic.


New skills

If you have been furloughed or you’re not currently employed, now is the perfect opportunity to look at online courses. LinkedIn has just released free LinkedIn Learning courses to help you build a job strategy, lean on your professional network and hone your virtual interview skills.

Find out more here:
Resources to Help You Navigate the Challenges of Today’s Job Market

Lots of companies are offering free trials of their software. If you are going to be indoors with a computer for the foreseeable future, this could be a great time to master Photoshop, InDesign or learn a new language – making you more employable.

Photoshop seven day trial

InDesign seven day trial

AutoCAD 30 day trial

Revit 30 day trial

Squarespace 14 day trial


Universal Credit & Job Seekers’ Allowance

For some, it might take too long to find work or a secure income and, in those situations, the state can help. From 24th March onwards, the government will focus on enabling access to financial support for new claimants and suspend all face-to-face assessments.
Universal Credit is gradually replacing Jobseekers’ Allowance and can still provide you with income once you secure work, albeit reduced.

Have a look at these links below for more information:

Coronavirus and claiming benefits – GOV.UK
For the latest updates on entitlement and arrangements for claiming benefits if you are affected by coronavirus

Universal Credit – GOV.UK

Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) – GOV.UK

What Universal Credit is – Citizens Advice


Perfect your CV

Searching and applying for jobs can take time, so it doesn’t hurt to get your preparation done now, while you have time. That way, you’ll be ready to move as soon as life begins to return to normality.

Check out our CV writing guide here:
How to Create a Standout CV

For more careers tips, or some moral support, please don’t hesitate to contact us at hello@hellograds.com with your questions. We’re here to help you.