UK unemployment: Your views and advice

April 11, 2012, 12:48 PM GMT+0

As UK unemployment remains at high levels, we ask Labs participants: Is it really so hard to find a job in the UK at the moment, and if so why?

Plus, participants' advice for jobseekers in the UK

Until 2008, UK unemployment had been falling fairly steadily for 15 years ‒ but since the credit crunch hit, levels have risen to 2.67 million or 8.4%, and predictions suggest that unemployment will continue to rise to 2.9 million over the next year.

By all accounts, particularly young or old people have been badly affected – while figures suggest that more than a fifth of 18-24-year-olds in this country are out of work, older jobseekers, in contrast, can often find themselves being ignored in favour of younger, cheaper, more inexperienced workers.

The Government and private businesses alike have tried to implement initiatives to solve this complex and on-going problem, but we asked Labs participants what they thought of the current unemployment situation.

We asked Labs participants: is it really that difficult to get a job and, if so, what do you think might be the major barriers to employment? Do you have any advice to offer?

The vast majority of participants to our poll agreed that it was difficult to get a job, and cited the state of the economy and increased jobs market competition as primary reasons behind the problem.

Many participants were also happy to offer their advice to other jobseekers.

What's your view on finding a job in the UK at the moment? What would you say are the problems associated with jobseeking?

Do you have any advice for those looking for work? Have your say below

Here's what our poll participants had to say on the issue...

1. Is it difficult to get a job at the moment – and if so, why?

Argument 1: There is too much competition for jobs

“There are more people after jobs because of people moving here from other parts of the EU” George, Belfast

“It appears that for every vacancy there are far too many applicants, so you have to be totally outstanding if you can get to the interview stage” Anon

“It's harder to find a job with the wages to support a decent standard of living so a lot of people are trying to get second and third jobs, leaving fewer jobs open for the unemployedJenny, Lancaste

Everybody has degrees and experience so the youngsters are caught in a catch 22” Nick, Tewkesbury

“Having interviewed people to fill a post recently I know how challenging the application process is for even fairly basic jobs and how many well-qualified people apply for a single post” Anon

“There are too many people for each position. Employers do not want people who have merely volunteered to gain experience, they want people who have paid experience” Gemma N, Manchester

“In my area, over 300 people are applying for a single jobAnon

“There are so many people of the same skill level fighting for the same level of jobs. In particular, young people and others who have been made redundant from higher salary jobs” A. Davies

Argument 2: External economic circumstances aren't helping

Because of the economic situation the structure of employment in the UK is changing and employers are adjusting to the new circumstances hence the increasing unemployment” Misha M, Blackpool

“Because of reduced government budgets, council, NHS and military budgets more people are being made redundant or unemployed. Plus - many companies can either not afford to increase their staff, or they are cutting back to due to reduced demand” Anon

“The recession has reduced the number of businesses, and those which remain are having to make economic cuts” Frances, Suffolk

Government policies have decimated the public sector in conjunction with allowing the banking sector to get away with the financial situation they have inflicted on the country, causing the private sector to cut back on employing people” Anon

“The Government job cuts, a lack of financial support for private companies, benefit claimants being forced on 'Workfare' schemes meaning potential jobs are being done at slave labour rates” Anon

“In past years the UK has aimed towards a services-based jobs market, neglecting manufacturing and agriculture. In difficult times, this choice does not payMario, Edinburgh

Not enough public investment. Without investment we don’t have a future ‒ especially in manufacturing and science” Anon

“There has been a knock-on effect on the economy that creates a situation where those who are just coming out of education are unable to take the jobs they would normally take because people who are more qualified have moved down to take the lower paying jobs merely to remain employed” Jack M, Manchester

Argument 3: Jobseekers don’t have the relevant skills

“The problem is the long-term unemployed ‒ they don't want to be unemployed but they just have no idea about how to get a job. We need to get behind the welfare to work companies like A4E to have them tackle this long term structural issue” Neil C, Feltham

“Many jobs require certain skills and people just don't have them” Helen S, Tyneside

“Companies are not taking people on. If you do not have the skills they want they are not willing to train peopleAnon

“If you have the right experience, the right skills, attitude, age and you are prepared to be flexible then there are jobs available. In fact some employers cannot get the staff they needAnon

Many of the unemployed are over-qualified for many of the jobs as a result of the recent over-emphasis on university- and college-level education” Alex S, Edinburgh

“Many people cannot find a job that meets their specific skills. It can be argued that they should take any job, however the current benefits system disincentives this” Gary E, Berkshire

“I personally find it hard as I have no work experience and most jobs state that experience is essential. There are not enough training or apprenticeship schemes available to get somebody started in the world of work” Sarah S, Cheshire

“Much of the problem seems to be that employers, agencies etc. will only put people forward if they have experience, or a specific vocational qualification. My son is a graduate, but is perpetually told he needs to have the relevant NVQ” Anon

The jobs that I trained for are in short supplyMookie, Surrey

2. Do you have any advice to give to jobseekers today?

Get out of the house every day and keep walking into business premises until you find a job. Repeat daily” Peter, Surrey

“I would suggest that those who have an idea create a business. It is the perfect time for entrepreneurs to start and get going” G, Worcester

“Use personalised cover letters – a "good" CV (i.e. use a spellchecker, print it on good quality paper etc.) – present yourself well” B, Manchester

“Go for any job offered, it at least establishes a track record of employment, and commitment” John, Oxford

Apply directly to companies you're interested in, whether or not they advertise positions available” Anon

“Take appropriate courses and offer to work for free to gain experience” Anon

“Talk to people about your situation. Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you knowAnon

Get out of bed at a normal working time; spend a couple of hours job searching. You've then got the rest of the day to do things ‒ maybe voluntary work or self-learning” Ian D, Manchester

Consider relocating if necessary ‒ this could be a temporary measure, even if it is medium or long-term” Anon

Volunteer it shows good work ethic and shows you are motivated” Anon

“There are relatively few full time permanent jobs. Job seekers have to consider options such as part-time, flexible hours working, and working outside their usual sphere/geographical locationAnon

Make phone calls as well as written applications. Follow up on rejections to find out where you went wrong” B Terry, Kent

Develop your hobbies ‒ if you have talent you may be able to earn money through them” Jenny P, London

Tailor your CV to every position you apply for - match the language and key words used in the job ad” Paul L, London

What's your view on finding a job in the UK at the moment? What would you say are the problems associated with jobseeking?

Do you have any advice for those looking for work? Have your say below

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