Mancunians seek more secure work to cope with financial hit of Covid-19

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New research from Nesta finds Mancunians are leaving their current jobs and sectors in unprecedented numbers, in a desperate bid to reinstate their regular income.

Thousands (15%) of those polled say they are being forced to switch to an alternative sector because of declining job opportunities in their current one. A key factor in the switch is the keenness to move to a sector that is more stable and would be impacted less by the pandemic or the recession, with 36% saying they have suffered financially due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. However, 38% say they would be starting at the bottom if they changed careers and 28% say their income would likely be impacted by the move.

The finances of many are already precarious, with 24% of Mancunians saying they worsened during the most recent lockdown. 23% feel like they are living on the breadline with 14% having had to borrow to get by and 29% saying money worries are affecting their mental health.

Christmas approaching is unlikely to ease any concerns, as 31% explained that the festive period is putting an even greater strain on their finances, 18% explained they can’t pay their bills, let alone afford Christmas.

Seeing the effects of the pandemic on people’s finances, Nesta launched the £3m Rapid Recovery Challenge in September to improve access to jobs and financial support for those impacted by COVID-19. As a result of the challenge, today, 14 organisations, including several not-for-profits, have secured £125,000 each in funding to further develop and quickly scale innovative solutions that will improve the job prospects and financial situation of people who fall into these groups over the months and years ahead.

Tris Dyson, Managing Director, Nesta Challenges, said: “As we continue to feel the economic impact of the pandemic, people up and down the country are facing severe threats to their job security and household finances, and it’s clear some are suffering more than others. There are a range of ideas out there that could make a real difference to those whose jobs and money have been impacted by the current crisis but organisations need to move at pace to get these tools into people’s hands in their moment of need. That’s why we launched the Rapid Recovery Challenge, to help organisations reach even more people and ensure that millions more do not find themselves out of work, out of pocket and out of prospects.”

The Challenge is funded by Nesta with support from the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), JPMorgan Chase and, most recently, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The additional money provided by DWP, via MaPS, enabled Nesta to increase the number of semi-finalists from 12 to 14, and help even more innovators reach even more people across the UK.

Seven of the semi-finalist solutions use innovative techniques, such as algorithms and data analysis, to help people to find new jobs. Ideas include a tool to match graduates to micro-internships, tailored support to reach more of those in need in marginalised groups including disabled people and homeless individuals, and online careers portals that use innovative methods to identify skills and match people to current vacancies. The other seven are focused on helping people cope with the financial consequences of the pandemic. Solutions include budgeting tools based on behavioural science, help to access affordable, responsible credit through digital solutions including open banking, and automated benefits calculations.