Life after furlough: Let’s make sure no one is left behind

Post author image. Deborah Sharp
As furlough ends, Nicola Inge writes of the evolving picture and a new job coaching initiative from BITC.
Nicola Inge looks at the camera

This time last year I wrote a blog commenting on the impact of the end of the furlough scheme and what this might mean for responsible business. Fortunately, the furlough scheme was extended at the eleventh hour last year, but the picture is very different this year.

The fact remains that the people whose employment prospects have been most impacted by the pandemic are those who were already facing barriers to gaining, and sustaining, good work.


An evolving picture
In many ways, the landscape now is looking more positive as forecasters have consistently revised down their predictions about a tidal wave of redundancies following the end of the furlough. In fact, the issues facing employers have turned on their head and we are now hearing mounting concern from members, across a range of sectors, about the volume of vacancies they are struggling to fill. These ‘frictional difficulties’ in connecting available workers to jobs span a variety of industries, locations and employers.
However, the fact remains that the people whose employment prospects have been most impacted by the pandemic are those who were already facing barriers to gaining, and sustaining, good work.
Young people, older workers, Black, Asian and minority ethnic people and low paid workers are all feeling the economic impact more acutely and it’s critical that businesses take action to make sure these groups are not left behind during the recovery period.


An opportunity to be part of the solution
Here at Business in the Community (BITC), we have been responding to the pandemic by mobilising our members, through a pilot programme that provides one-to-one coaching to jobseekers most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through training our member’s employees as coaches, together we support jobseekers improving their chances of finding good work and helping them stay positive as they navigate the challenges of the labour market. In one of our pilot regions, 44% of job seekers taking part in the programme have already found employment. And the positive impact isn’t just in employment outcomes -it is also how we can build up people’s confidence and skills to play a more active role in the economy in the future.


Time to change gear
So, as the furlough scheme wraps up, and thousands more employees face an uncertain future, we are stepping up our efforts to support them. We’re calling on all of our BITC members to be part of this response, as we roll out our pilot programme into the UK’s first mass mobilisation of businesses, dedicated to making sure that no one is left behind as we recover from COVID-19.

How you can be involved
If you would like to be part of this exciting programme, due to launch during October and you are a Business in the Community member please contact your relationship manager. If your organisation is not a member
please contact the team.