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What Will Change for Blue Collar Workers After Coronavirus? 

Published: Wednesday 22nd April 2020

For some employees, especially those in manual labour jobs, such as construction and hospitality, working at home simply isn’t an option. Many blue collar workers have already been laid off, others will be worried whether they’ll have a job to go back to. All will certainly be feeling impacted financially. Meanwhile, other blue collar workers such as those in healthcare, logistics and supermarkets are in the front line. These workers might still be getting paid, but their work just became a whole lot more stressful – and even their jobs could be in danger when the coronavirus crisis ends. 

What is certain is that most people in working class jobs, whether isolated at home, or working on the front line, will be worried about the future, and what coronavirus means for their career and their financial stability.  

construction worker checking location site with crane on the background

More people will be starting a job search 

When the current crisis is over, the likelihood is another one will be waiting – recession – and with that unemployment will rise. Businesses with cash reserves may survive, but many others will go into administration. There will be a lot more competition for the jobs that remain. Former white collar workers will be looking at opportunities in the blue collar workplace, as their own jobs go. At the same time, a business slump means that temporary front line positions, blue collar and manual labour jobs will go too. 

The UK government has announced measures to encourage employers to keep on staff, even if they’re forced to shut temporarily. Likewise, an income support scheme has been set up for the self-employed, providing a grant of up to £2,500 per month. Additionally, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be temporarily extended for those that are forced to self-isolate due to Covid-19But these are only temporary measures. If a recession hits, some people may be unemployed for the longer term. These people will have no choice but to register for job seeker allowance (JSA) while looking for work. 

Young attractive woman working or job searching with coffee and laptop in the background

Blue Collar Workers – Working life after Coronavirus

As a result of coronavirus, business activity in the UK has already plunged to a record low and employment in manufacturing and services has fallen to levels not seen since July 2009. State measures will cost a lot and it’s unclear what will be left to bail out businesses in the event of a recession, but it’s thought that the severity of the economic hit will be largely guided by the length of containment measures. Right now, no one knows how long they will last, but the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has predicted that the economy will shrink 0.5% in the first quarter, followed by 15% in the second quarter of 2020. Household expenditure will shrink too, directly impacting the blue collar workplace, certainly in the retail and hospitality sectors 

Writing text showing Hospitality Business. Concept meaning Industry Business. Sticky note paper holding with fingers

There could even be bad news for blue collar workers who keep their jobs. The think tank Resolution Foundation is advising the government to postpone the increase in the National Living Wage, as doing this in a recession will make working class jobs more vulnerable. Employers will have to reduce staffing numbers to cut business costs. 

The future might look bleak for blue collar workers, but economies are cyclic and things will pick up. When they do you’ll be sure to find all the latest vacancies for your job search on Zoek’s recruitment app. 

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