Covid crisis ‘has cut unemployment stigma’

The coronavirus crisis has reduced the stigma associated with being unemployed, according to a survey of more than 250 human resources professionals conducted after hundreds of thousands of people lost their job during the pandemic.

The study found that more than eight in 10 HR workers think there was stigma around unemployment before Covid-19, but 47% say this has reduced since the pandemic started.

Around a quarter think it has remained the same, while 21% said stigma has increased, the study from social media site LinkedIn found.

The findings echoed the views of recently redundant workers, who overwhelmingly said that stigma had decreased.

Around 68% of people who have lost their jobs think there is less stigma attached to unemployment now.

More than a fifth said they are more comfortable talking about their redundancy.

Janine Chamberlin, a senior director at LinkedIn, said employers need to put away stigma around unemployment.

“Businesses that fail to look past the stigma of unemployment will miss out on the biggest talent windfall in a generation,” she said.

“Forward-thinking companies are focusing less on candidates’ current employment status and related previous experience, and more on their transferable skills, personal attributes and what they can uniquely bring to the business.”

Businesses are more favourable to employed jobseekers who are proactive when looking for work.

More than half said they think that posting about their employment situation on social media makes the unemployed look resourceful.

Ms Chamberlin added: “With the high levels of people currently unemployed due to Covid-19, companies that assess candidates on their transferable skills will benefit from diverse talent pools and fresh perspective.”