Opinion  

Preparing for job losses

Simon Read

Simon Read

How many jobs will be lost once we come to the final reckoning after the coronavirus crisis is over

Since the beginning of July, the number of workers facing the axe has been mounting rapidly.

That was always going to happen.

While an estimated 9.2m folk have been furloughed during lockdown, as soon as the cost to companies started to rise, they were going to consider cutting back.

There have been various estimates about how many people could end up out of work this year.

A survey published in late June suggested that 2m employees could be facing the chop when government support for furlough ends.

The true reckoning will be when the support package ends in October.

The research from Market Finance among 2,000 companies warned that a quarter of furloughed workers will be made redundant in September.

I have been keeping a tally of big companies announcing massive redundancy programmes.

British Airways has plans to reduce its workforce by 12,000, for instance.

Centrica, SSP – owner of Upper Crust – and EasyJet are all putting around 5,000 people out of work.

Debenhams, Rolls Royce, Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic, Dixons Carphone, Ovo Energy, Travis Perkins, BP and Royal Mail have all announced cutbacks of between 2,000 to 4,000 staff.

At the beginning of July the BBC led its news agenda with details of 12,000 jobs being lost in 48 hours as a bloodbath hit retailers such as Topshop-owner Arcadia, Harrods, John Lewis, WHSmith and TM Lewin.

The list grows daily and it is important to bear in mind that these are not just statistics.

Job loss anxiety

Each and every job lost affects a person, who may be a friend or a member of your family or, crucially for financial advisers, a client.

I know people who work at three of the companies who have already announced cutbacks and they are naturally worried.

Only one has already been told they are out of work, but the other two are on notice, which means they are very likely to lose their jobs.

I have also noticed a rise in readers’ emails asking about redundancy advice.

They are mainly concerned about their rights, but there is an underlying question about their finances.

How can people survive losing their income? What should they do to ensure they can cope while looking for a new job?

For older people, a redundancy may be time to take stock and move to a less pressurised job or even a more enjoyable one.

Some will even be thinking about taking early retirement, if their finances allow it.