Career Change Despite Double Dip Recession in the UK

UK Economy

The BBC reported on 25th April 2012 that the UK economy has returned to recession, after shrinking by 0.2% in the first three months of 2012. It added that a fall in government spending had contributed to the particularly large fall in the construction sector, leading to a “double dip recession”. This is worrying for all those contemplating a career change at this time.

UK manufacturing output bounced back in March, figures show, but overall industrial output fell. However, some pointed to other recent business surveys, which painted a more positive picture of the economy. “These figures are at odds with the experiences of many UK businesses, which continue to operate with guarded optimism,” said David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce. Data suggests manufacturing is in a better position at the start of this year than it was at the end of 2011. He added that he expected the preliminary estimate to be revised upwards when more information became available.

The Bank of England and many economists have also voiced doubts about the above data as business surveys painted a firmer picture.

Employment grew by just 115,000 in April 2012 following a disappointing job gain in March. Together, the March and April average was only about half the 250,000 jobs added monthly in December, January and February.

There may be a double dip recession but this is not the full picture. How is it that John Lewis, seen as a bellwether for the state of the retail sector,  is reporting an increase in sales of 13.9% or £61.1m in the last quarter compared to 2011 from demand for electricals and iPads?

Did you know that the richest people in the UK have got even richer in the past 3 years!  The Sunday Times Rich List, reported that the 1,000 richest persons in the UK had increased their wealth by so much in the last 3 years – £155bn – that they themselves alone could pay off the entire UK budget deficit and still leave themselves with £30bn to spare. 

The media chooses to focus on doom and gloom even where there is good news out there for your career change. In the UK, the Labour Market Statistics of July 2012 show that the employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 70.7 per cent, up 0.3 on the quarter. There were 29.35 million people in employment aged 16 and over, up 65,000 on the quarter. Significantly, the number of unemployed people was down 61,000 on the quarter. This is the second quarterly fall in unemployment since the three months to May 2011. 

Unemployment rate (aged 16+), seasonally adjusted.

Labour Force Survey – UK Office for National Statistics, April 2012



It is true that it is an employers’ market at present.  As there are fewer jobs compared to prior to 2008, employers have been able to depress wages.  In the public sector in the UK, thousands are being made redundant and those who are left are finding their pensions under attack.  Many over 40 are wondering if this is the death of their career. Are you one of them or are you ready to say, “Enough of the negative news. I will take responsibility for my own career and take action”?

Once you take the decision to do something about your career change, many options will be available to you.  For example, you could retrain in a new career, migrate to where the right jobs are or set up your own business. Be prepared to take intelligent risks. The recession and slow recovery has led many to rethinking their goals and careers. Rather than wait for the 
ideal job (or any job) to come along, some people are creating opportunities for themselves.

In an inspiring article, the US ‘Mother Nature Network’ site gives the examples of 10 people who successfully changed careers to do something sustainable:  

It is a daunting task, embarking on a new career.  Ask yourself, what do I enjoy doing so much that it doesn’t feel like work?  What do I spend most of my time on, what do I search on the web for most often? You do not need to travel on your career change journey alone.  As your career coach, I will guide and support you to develop a career plan based on your goals plus aspirations and help you navigate the employment market.

If you would like support on your career change path, or for more information about my services, take a look at

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