During the first half of 2020, when the UK entered the deep lockdown to counter Covid-19, there was understandably significant uncertainty over jobs.
Although the government pledged billions of pounds towards furlough schemes, many young people in particular were concerned that, as the UK came out of lockdown into an economically vulnerable environment, job prospects would be poor.
With the economy now down more than 20 per cent quarter-on-quarter, and unemployment figures pushing upwards to 1m in the UK, it is unsurprising that people are nervous.
According to jobs board CV-Library's latest research, 56.5 per cent of finance professionals are worried about losing their job during the coronavirus pandemic.
Young people especially are at risk, which is why they are being encouraged by the government to take advantage of various schemes set up to help them get the skills and training they need for the workplace.
For example, in his June statement, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the Kickstart Scheme a £2bn fund to create work placements and apprenticeships aimed at young adults (see info box).
At the time, Mr Sunak commented: "These will be decent jobs – with a minimum of 25 hours per week paid at least the National Minimum Wage. I urge every employer big or small to hire as many kickstarters as possible.”
At a time when diversity and inclusion is also uppermost in HR managers' minds, making the most of government-backed schemes such as Kickstart will not just help companies financially when it comes to hiring and training the next generation of advisers, but will also help companies recruit from outside the usual sphere of old school ties and milk-rounds at prestigious universities.
Fresh talent does not come accessorised with a pair of Eton cufflinks; it comes from as wide a social spectrum as possible and therefore will speak to successive generations of clients that reflect more broadly the make-up of the UK.
Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, says: "The government's announcement of support for a six-month spell of employment for young people could be an excellent way for younger people to discover how much financial planning has become a vital profession, based on developing relationships and helping people."
It is not surprising, therefore, to hear CV-Library's statistics showing there were 184.2 per cent more applicants battling it out for every job than there was a year ago.
Programmes in place
But, as Mr Richards says, because financial services is a profession, this is something that "requires a structured career plan over several years".
He explains: "Any move to hiring must be a long-term decision, and one that is considered carefully by both the individual and the firm, as it will require the growth and need for specialist support and back-office roles."