The economic collapse caused by the coronavirus has put millions of economic futures in doubt. More than nine million people have been furloughed in Britain, or 29 percent of the country’s work force, and 2.8 million have filed unemployment claims.
Some fields, such as hospitality or live entertainment, seem especially uncertain, leaving some people in a quandary: Wait for business and employment to pick up, or leave behind a job and career and try something new?
For Hanna Scaife, 24, the choice became simple as the lockdown wore on. She has enrolled in an art school beginning in September, with plans to transfer to the University of Sunderland to study ceramics and glass.
“I think it’s time for a change,” she said.
Angela Saunders, 39, built a hospitality and catering recruitment business with her husband in Scarborough, northeast England, but the pandemic brought that to an end. Now, they plan to pivot and begin buying and selling vintage clothing.
“Although recruitment can earn us a lot of money,” she said, “taking a step back has made me realize, really, I’d rather just have enough money and more happiness.”
For many workers, the transition to more secure positions will be difficult, because they will require retraining and further education, and be competing against a flood of other unemployed people, said Michael Koch, an assistant professor for human resource management and organizational behavior at the University of Kent.
“The gig economy is going to grow as a result of Covid,” he said, as businesses will aim to employ workers on short-term contracts or use more casual labor to maintain flexibility should a lockdown happen again.