The pace of change is increasing. And with it (along with a better sense of wellbeing and more optimism about job futures) the desire to move jobs. The ‘reasons why’ make interesting reading – flexibility, nicer people, opportunities for development and progression – all are rated highly. Whether that means the grass is really greener elsewhere is quite another question, but many are asking whether the green grass is something they can create for themselves.
Our statistics just out suggest that the shape of employment choices made by those at a crossroads in their working life is also changing. Our last quarter of 2014 shows a much wider spread of resettlement routes – something that increased in Q3 and grew further in Q4. Simply moving to another external role has dropped from 50% last year to 44% and with it our delegates are taking more time to decide what they really want to do.
If we measure resettlement success after redundancy purely by considering how long it takes to find a new role, then we are in danger of pushing delegates into unsuitable work just to ‘tick a box’. This is the wrong approach.
Instead we explore all options with our delegates, then focus on any that are both realistic and of genuine interest to them. Some show a real desire to continue on their existing path and want simply to find another employer who will allow them to progress. Others are hugely energised by a discussion that broadens their horizons and allows them to express enthusiasm for an (often as yet unspoken) idea that they have kept under wraps yet could change their lives completely.
The technological world has played a positive part in making self-employed routes a more frequent occurrence. Building a website ‘shop window’ is now easier than ever, and means new business ideas can be launched at very low cost. New businesses have been created using innovative sites like e-Bay where services and products can often be offered and bought more cheaply and easily. All of which may explain why more of our delegates are setting up as self-employed or establishing themselves as an interim specialist, contractor or consultant on a very simple, sole trader basis.
This quarter over 30% of our resettled delegates did just that. You can be sure that we put them through their paces, checking out their motivation, business plan, support network, sales contacts and financial robustness before encouraging such a route to employment.
This trend and the statistics on those in work who are feeling twitchy leads me to wonder how many more budding entrepreneurs are still trapped in unhappy jobs, wondering how to find out if their ideas for self-employment are viable. As I noted some time ago – perhaps the nation of grocers concept is not dead – rather the notion of ‘online grocers’ is increasingly on the march.