Prospering sectors in uncertain times


As the lockdown eases for many people and things like shops and other venues reopen, people are starting to think about returning to a workplace, in some capacity. For some people this will be easy to do – if you work in a small team, for example, with plenty of office space. But for other firms, it is more complex. The logistics of a large workforce simply accessing a multi-storey office building – think 20 floors – is difficult when it’s difficult to be socially distanced in a lift.

Many businesses have been adversely affected by the lockdown – such as recreation, leisure, and hospitality. These have become very competitive in terms of vacancies, with dozens (and in some cases hundreds – or even thousands) of applicants submitting CVs for scarce roles, as has been prominently highlighted in the media. The fallout of the mass-shutting of venues where people can gather to socialise and relax has had catastrophic consequences for employees.

 Thriving and surviving

On the flipside however, many roles that can be carried out remotely have been able to continue as normal, with some even showing improvements in productivity and efficiency. Distractions such as chit-chat and random meetings have become a thing of the past, as employees have been able to focus only on their work at hand.

And then there are the companies which have found that the situation has actually allowed their businesses to flourish. For example, textile manufacturers that have been able to divert their production lines to making masks have been able to help their fortunes and also the national effort to prevent the spread of the virus. Fashion labels have stopped selling beachwear and instead made leisurewear, such as jogging bottoms. Anyone in healthcare has been very much in demand and jobs at supermarkets have been multiplying, with the definition of ‘key worker’ broadening to include a range of professions you wouldn’t have grouped together last year – refuse collectors, pharmacists, postmen, carers, bus drivers and doctors have all remained active during the pandemic.

Supplying demand

Any business that relies on online delivery has also been able to continue to operate and reach its audience at the click of a button, so if you work in these sectors, instead of customers visiting your store, they simply visit your website. Home and garden-based activities have seen an upturn in fortunes too. And the delivery sector itself has prospered during lockdown, with companies such as Hermes taking on swathes of staff to cope with supplying demand.

So, it is not all doom and gloom during this extended period of economic uncertainty. The more imaginative among us have managed to adapt, or completely change, the way we work. But is remote working now with us forever, which will also alter so many other aspects of our lives, such as reduced social interaction and decreased commuter travel? Cafes and food retailers are suffering, due to a lack of workers in cities, but smaller towns and villages are prospering, as people use their local amenities much more and their cars less.

What will give us a clearer picture of the economy is when some of the governmental support measures – such as furlough – are withdrawn and the true condition of the business world will be revealed. Only then can we really start planning for the future in earnest.

Remote interviews – how to break through the barriers

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As the UK finally begins to ‘unlock’, people are tentatively venturing out. Meeting in person is beginning to be reintroduced, with family members able to reunite, albeit it socially-distanced. This is allowing people a certain degree of normality to return to their lives. However, in terms of a working environment, many companies are actively encouraging the ‘work from home’ ethic to continue. This is fine if you have become used to working from home, or sometimes worked from home as part of your job anyway. But what if you were in the course of looking for a new job, to transition into a new role in a new sector for example?

Preparation is everything

The landscape has changed immensely of how people are hired and inducted. Anyone applying for a job now is doing it remotely. It’s important then to think how to project your personality in a remote interview, to come across well. Somehow, you have to depict your personality, without being there in person. Play to your strengths and use your communication skills to convey your skillset. Before any remote interview, you need to give some thought to practicing and getting used to using remote video conferencing tools.

One answer could be a video CV. This is not a new concept and has been around for over a decade. However, in these present times, it might be a useful way of preparing for an interview, even if you don’t end up using the actual video CV. The more practice you get at this sort of media, the better you’ll become at it. It’s not appropriate for all sectors, but when it works it can be a useful tool.

Remember to be confident and plan what you need to say. This will stand you in good stead for the interview itself. Good preparation will allow you to get your personality across in a relaxed manner and perhaps most importantly, smile. Looking surly onscreen won’t ignite a potential employer’s enthusiasm. While a smiley countenance will always endear yourself to the viewer.

Remotely interesting

Once you have video CV you are satisfied with, you should also be more familiar with video conferencing and how to project yourself onscreen. You’ll have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. How to present yourself, and how to sit and act. Your posture onscreen will say as much about you as it would in person. Make sure you choose where you are going to sit carefully and check that your laptop or computer is at the right height for you to appear on screen properly.  It’s also well worth making an effort in your appearance. You will feel more confident if you are dressed as though you were attending the interview in person. Think about what a potential employer might ask you and rehearse some responses. Don’t gesticulate too wildly when you speak either.

It’s employers that are having to get used to this ‘new normal’ too. For example, they might feel uncomfortable about hiring a senior person in their company without seeing them face-to-face. However, they are having to accept it as the new norm. Posts will become vacant and will need to be filled and some sectors have been relatively unaffected by the lockdown, in terms of productivity and access. It has also made many people aware of the possibilities of global communication and perhaps their new work opportunity won’t even be in the UK. With the endless possibilities of technology, if you have internet access and a computer screen, you can communicate across the world.

10 signs your team would benefit from coaching

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Times are changing

Change is an inevitable part of life, especially within the working environment. But the changes we have seen in 2020 have been unlike anything we’ve experienced in our working lives before. Even in this lockdown period, changes to work methods and practices can lead employees to start feeling unable to keep up. Working remotely, for example, can seem very alien to someone who is only used to an office environment.

With the uncertainty surrounding the shape of what work and workplaces will look like next year, career transition may be forced on many people. It’s important that companies monitor their staff to look for tell-tale signs in these insecure times, particularly with more senior members of staff, who can become lost or even left behind by the pace of change. Coaching can help them, especially in the current economic climate.

Noticing the signs

Changes in a staff member’s behaviour can be a key sign that they are not coping well with company adjustments.

Here are 10 signs which could indicate that your staff are not managing effectively with change:

  1. Frustration – with themselves and their colleagues
  2. Stress – anxiety and general unhappiness
  3. Isolation – lack of conversing and reduced sociability
  4. Unprepared – looking or feeling lost and out of their depth
  5. Increased periods of time off – through illness, or an unwillingness to be in work
  6. Boredom – a reduced enthusiasm for their job
  7. Disputes with colleagues – becoming resistant or more argumentative
  8. Lack of confidence – in themselves and their work
  9. Punctuality – issues with continual lateness
  10. Procrastinating – being unwilling or unable to complete their tasks.

Inevitably, how well employees are able to deal with changes can strongly affect the business. At Career Evolution, we understand how crucial it is to help staff throughout the company cope.

A positive change

Through our expert coaching programme, designed to aid members of staff at all levels – including those at more advanced positions, such as senior managers and directors – our highly-qualified coaches will assist your staff to handle change effectively. This includes helping people before, during and after transition periods, offering bespoke support on a one-to-one and group basis.

Tailored specifically for how to best suit your employees’ needs, our coaching enables individuals to recognise their value, and most importantly, how they and their company can continue to succeed in the face of change.

Change for the better

The most effective method for your staff to deal with change is to embrace it as a positive element,  not as something to be feared and treated with scepticism and suspicion. Change is vital for businesses to adapt and survive in an uncertain environment, where many companies have already buckled under the pressure of not keeping up with the times. The other side of lockdown will be a testing time, economically and socially. Helping employees to take control of their changing role or situation, and formulate a plan for a future that will work for them, is the key to helping individuals thrive and prosper. It will aid both staff and the business forge ahead, and bring about positive change together.

Focus on skills not sectors


Did you know that many of the skills learned from working in one industry can be easily transferred across others? Transferable skills allow you to broaden your search for new roles in an array of different directions. If you are going through career transition or looking at your options post-lockdown, there’s a risk that you will look for the exactly the same job in exactly the same industry. However, it is important to remember that your opportunities are not limited to your existing role or sector. Many industries go hand-in-hand when it comes to skills. It’s worth looking at where the intersections occur.

Acquired skills

Each new role you have had within a company allows you to develop numerous additional skills. Some skills are targeted at specific roles and require a level of expertise. However, even with some of these, there are elements that are transferable. For example, if an operations manager has developed excellent knowledge of processes within the pharmaceutical industry, this can easily be transferred into the food sector. This is due to the importance of processes, which is a major element of both sectors.

Widen your outlook

Recognising and identifying these transferable skills allows you the flexibility to work in different sectors. This in turn provides a broader horizon of career prospects. Having a wider outlook can be particularly beneficial during times of transition and redundancy, where finding a new job can be more challenging than normal. Opening new opportunities and routes can be positive and uplifting. This will work to build the confidence of any jobseeker, particularly in times of uncertainty such as these. It is also useful to research which sectors are thriving in the current climate, as well as identifying sectors that remain stable and those that are suffering.

Identifying opportunities

Having someone on hand who understands exactly what acquired skills can mean for future prospects can be a huge advantage. An outside, independent voice can steer candidates into new directions, instigating great new opportunities. A Career Consultant can help you through the process of identifying your skills and matching them to new roles. These could be within industries you might always have wanted to work in, or never even previously considered. It might be that expert advice will be the springboard to launch your career, not only to brand new heights, but also in new directions.

The Human Touch

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Telling someone that they are being made redundant can unleash a great deal of emotion. After the initial shock, it can leave a person feeling scared and uncertain – or even angry. They’ve lost their security and need to find a way of rebuilding that assurance, both for themselves and their families. This is understandable, as it can be a daunting situation for anybody to be in – and a helping hand at the time can make all the difference.

Clearing the obstacles

In order to help employees cope during these windows of change, it’s important to look at redundancy on an emotional level, not just from a business perspective. Applying effort can help any employee adapt and ultimately, they will emerge from the experience with positives. Each individual reacts differently to change. Some resist, while others are more adaptable. It presents each individual with different obstacles and challenges. When this happens unexpectedly it can cause upsetting consequences. Providing an individual with a steadying hand, to comprehend what is next, can be very valuable.

Change for the better

Taking a holistic approach to this is beneficial. Some employees might not have updated their CVs in years, or considered obtaining further qualifications. It is important to make the time to find out what an employee wants to do next and establish what value-added skills they can offer. Do this before talking them through building a CV, interview practice and learning new skills, all of which can set them up to move on to their next role. As part of the career change, employees might take stock and decide to pursue a completely new career – something they have always dreamt about but have never had the chance to try. A bit of extra support to help them get there can make the world of difference.

Positive outcomes

Companies that look after employees facing redundancy until they define their new role will leave the employee with a good memory of the business and its practices. Just because it is the end of their employment, it doesn’t mean the relationships needs to end badly. It just takes a helping hand to ensure an employee knows they have that support in place to move forward.

Outplacement specialists such as Career Evolution can help make this difficult process easier.  They are run by industry experts, who are professional coaches and mentors. As a result, they have a great deal of experience and knowledge of how to approach employees who are undergoing periods of transition in their workplace, which are often not of their making.