My Hopes and fears for the World of Work Post-Pandemic
You must be on another planet if you haven’t been impacted somehow by the Coronavirus pandemic that erupted at the start of this year. Whilst there has been an astronomical amount of fatalities all over the world it has been said by many that the world will never be the same again. I have to agree. Not only for those who have sadly lost loved ones but for all aspects of our day to day lives. So, what does that mean for the younger generation in the world of work? As a student about to start my second year at University, here are my views.
One main factor that has been disrupted during this worldwide pandemic are the jobs. It goes without saying it has brought a lot of anxiety to many during this crisis and whilst lockdown is easing the fears are still there with people returning back to work.
Some of my top fears are:
- Lack of support and communication.
- Not having job security.
With people being made redundant after the furlough scheme is ending a big fear for me is will those jobs be vacant again. Competition is a big thing in the world of work so with fewer jobs available this will be at its highest. How can I make myself stand out from the rest even more so now when applying for a job? Why am I more deserving than them and those that have already lost their jobs? Although a frightening thought it can also be a great motivator. My response is "I will want to stand out from the rest and that is what I'm going to do".
Whether you're a Theory X or Theory Y worker I think it is without a doubt we all want more job security within the workplace than we would have had a few months ago, but how can this be ensured when no one anticipated a pandemic to hit? Adam Grant, Professor of Management and Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School addressed The World Economic Forum in April. He highlighted the elements of the workplace that we can expect to change in so many jobs around the world. One of the elements included more autonomy for workers. Another was the need to design jobs to make them more 'meaningful and motivating'. I think these two factors will be crucial to encourage people getting back to work and staying in a safe environment. For myself I would definitely feel more valued knowing I have more control over my job role whilst also ensuring it is more engaging and most importantly safe.
Communication is also another important factor to me. For any relationship, this is an integral part whether it’s a personal relationship or work one. Companies may be reluctant to update on any small news if there is a probability of it not happening and not wanting to cause fear. However, I think it is best to be kept in the loop at all times so there is room to prepare mentally and physically for any outcome that may come from all of this uncertainty in our current climate. In short, treat me like the adult I am.
A recent hope for the world of work in the younger generation was delivered by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak who announced the, 'kick-start job scheme'. This involves those aged 16-24 who can claim universal credit and who are at risk of long-term unemployment to be eligible for this job scheme. The £2 billion scheme will create hundreds of 'new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country' (Gov.uk). For each six-month job placement the Government will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week' (Gov.uk)
This gives a great amount of hope to us of the younger age within the workplace. I hope this will encourage job retention in that age group. Giving hope for the younger generation in jobs is what we need. Having this support means less pressure in securing a job after all of this which is great. On the other hand, I do have fears from this announcement: will they be able to stick to it and will I be able to benefit from this scheme when I don’t graduate until 2022? Mixed feelings towards the new scheme so let’s see how this pans out, hopefully for the better.
So, imagine this…a world post Covid-19 where workers are valued more so now than ever before and are given the recognition they deserve rather than being treated as cheap labour. Having a workplace where we are not only valued but understood is an all-time hope. As well as this we need to feel secure. After what we’ve all gone through the last couple of months if anything as such was going to happen again wouldn’t you hope to feel secure in your job too? At the end of the day it’s the thing we need the most to pay the bills. With all this in mind it’s also important to mention it will help improve the mental health of everyone. Many of whom are students and of the younger generation like myself who have fears of being at a bigger disadvantage from the impacts of COVID-19.
Undergraduate studying Fashion and Beauty Journalism, Birmingham City University